rapid reviews

Because I seriously need to think about work stuff, and these need to be finished. There are several titles still pending a long fangirly review thing, though.

A Tale of Redwood (R. Geronimo / Carlorozy) — The story follows the tale of Redwood the witch, who unabashedly eats organs and sells them. This is a novella release, not a comic. Um…there is excellent raw skill in the writing, but on the whole I think a beta-reader is needed. Something I can’t put a finger on makes the writing a little hard to bear after some time. The formatting and illustration, though, is top-notch, even professional-grade, such that the release presents itself like The Edge Chronicles or the Lemony Snicket books.

Mekanismo (Rafael Gumboc) — In 2211 the country uses Mekanismo (giant mecha) for its national defense, but groups are scrambling to get some pieces for their own uses. Undoubtedly a good-looking mecha komik is hard to come by among the indies (as most of them tend toward either being a mecha komik for kids, or prefer to have humans instead of robots). Indeed the art here is very good in its presentation of the mecha, and the pacing is really good. However the entire work still looks and feels like any of your usual Gundam manga, down to the presentation of the-one-angsty-rebel-reluctant-young-man-who-will-save-the-world plot device. Meaning: it does not feel Pinoy enough to me yet, even if it is set in the country. But, I repeat: VERY good mecha art, which deserves some good fans.

MakiNarya (Wilmar Logatoc) [Pazin-Tave] — Despite a last-minute attack on a science laboratory, Super Mechanical Human Cybo Project Maki is activated and comes to life. However, if Maki is so new, even if the skills were programmed into him he should not have been able to be that awesome that quickly, without at least having booted up first and done some diagnostics (like any good machine, even if cyborg). The rival characters are rather cookie-cutter as well, and majority of the dialogue reads like the script for a Tagalog dubbing of an anime. Believability aside, the paneling is decent, and the story pacing is not bad at all. The komik already has some well-deserved fans, but on the whole it definitely still needs some growing up to do.

The Man From the Planet of the Masochists (Luci) — A girl is reluctant to fully fall in love with a man completely without skin, saying he is from the planet of masochists, who had said skin painfully pulled away from them. You definitely can’t help but be impressed at the amount of muscular anatomical detail in this work (and as some will tell you, in regards to anatomy I am probably difficult to impress). It is also rather hard to fully like this thing. I understand that its intention was to shock somewhat, but my more rational side considers that the whole thing is inconceivably impossible and is not convincing enough to make us forget the impossibility. All this said, the comic is a metaphor of the pain love can bring, and it’s pretty good at discussing it.

Shadow (Reksoy) [Komikult] — Shadow is a likeable-enough wandering vagrant trying to get by every day while chasing down his meals and fighting thieves. It’s….okay, and the art does not have much to be faulted against, from one of the best artists in this group. And it is a nice funny thing to while away half an hour with. But aside from introducing Shadow and his lifestyle, not much happens to help us understand why we should care about this guy and why he should stay alive.

Republika (Paul Basinillo / Dennis Crisostomo) — In an alternate universe, colonists of the Philippines still don’t know what makes it tick. They suspect there’s a secret stash of extraordinary power, and people like are national heroes had their chances in protecting it. They’re now recruiting in the modern age. It seems to be clear that the illustrator works for the comic industry, seen in the way the characters are the presented and how the work is paneled on the whole. But for all the professionalism, the comic is not as incredible as expected. The pacing of the story itself is a little off, and the amount of information dumped on panels is a little disconcerting. Also, even if the work seems researched well enough, something about its presentation makes us question the accuracy of that research, as well as the believability of this alternate setting. It’s really, really good, as far as art and production values go. But on the whole it feels lacking and unconvincing.

Children of the Eternal Spring: Door Knocker Pendant (pansikoser) [Plurkian brotherhood] — I’ll just quote: “Two girls in a quest to retrieve a world legend, two children searching for each other, one pendant to cross their paths, and a door to take the children back to their homeland” is what the story is about. I…don’t see it in these two issues very well yet. The concept is very novel and deserves attention. The characters are interesting (though not named often enough so we know who are speaking). The world-build is quite nice. The character and world-build art is really, really good. But the author’s preponderance of trailing speech balloons tends to result in pages that are hard to keep up with. The paneling is rather hard to understand (but improves by the second book). On the whole, it’s really cute with a good heart and a great concept…but the komikero friends need to help in improving on its readability. Some aspects of it are better presented with color in the online version.

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