Owen and the Red Flames have managed to prove they have what it takes. When a group backs out at the last minute, they suddenly have a way into Patintero Urban, more or less the X-games, underground league of the sport. But success is getting into Marco’s head, too many people are looking at blind player Owen with disbelief, and their first challenger the Chaos Bolts are a harder fight than they expected.
The big question now is: will the cutie Chester Okada now have commercial-modelling gigs?! You know, like for Gatorade or NIke or Bench, or picture articles at Esquire and Cosmo? ^^v
In a big leap of faith, Kai Castillo has dared to show the second part of the series immediately in TPR form, without initially creating individual folded-paper issues. The gamble has paid off. Because this is the only running sport komik (in contrast to the many fantasy, scifi, school-story, and zombie komiks), the rules are different for his running series. By deciding to go direct to TPR, he was free to develop a whole game, from its planning stages to its crucial final minutes, across the equivalent of three folded-paper issues, without disrupting continuity. Therefore, you keep reading and following the action as it unfolds, without wondering if you’re missing something because of lacking an issue. You can’t believe you’re following patintero like it were a tight basketball game: intense and unpredictable, even if you kinda hope the main characters will win the day.
Giving pauses where chapters stop and start are his versions of an important sports website for Patintero Urban. Do not skip them; read them because they give clues to undercurrents related to the running game. They are short enough not to wear out their welcome. That said, if the “website updates” will be continued, they should really be given a final grammar check before publication.
The rapid development of Kai’s art style also shows in this release. There are plenty of detailed action poses and more variations in “camera angles” all throughout. Inclusion of markers or paints to the heavy inking also adds more dimension to the art in general, especially in the second half. The main characters are also easier to tell apart, and enough repetition of the names in dialogue are given now (without overdoing it) so I can properly distinguish one from the other.
And you definitely know something great is being done here when you feel the fangirling mode coming on while reading. The crazy feelings you reserve for big manga or anime, for popular TV series. Owen is being so awesome! Chester is cute and so cool! Where do you get posters of Chester to put on the wall, please! When are we getting fanart! When are we getting, gasp, fanfic! The characters are latching on to us. It’s a good thing.
So keep it coming, sir. Give us backstories, give us game arcs. Keep it coming.