Monday, February 15, 2010

February Zuda Reviews: Part 1

Welcome to this month's batch of Zuda reviews. Okay, the month is more than half over, but what are you going to do, right? The important thing is that voting is still in progress, so it's not too late to weigh in on this month's competitors. My comments will be somewhat briefer than usual, but no doubt that comes as a great relief to many of you, so no problem.

Enough chatter, let's get to the comics.

Aliens vs. Ninjas vs. Samurai
by Darrin Stephens & Jorge Vega

This story pretty much delivers exactly what the title promises, although the aliens don't really show up until the last page. It's a cute enough concept I suppose, though not exactly cutting edge (only lacking pirates and Chuck Norris to fulfill internet mandates), but the art is so stylized it was hard for me to get into it or necessarily follow what was happening. It was like Mary Blair doing thumb puppets. I'm sure some people really loved the art, but I wasn't one of them.

My Grades: Eh. A C. For what it is, I've certainly seen worse.

Divided By Seven
by Scott Boyce

What if the Flash was actually a holocaust survivor from the future? That seems to be the premise of Divided by Zero, which tells the story of a dangerously emaciated speedster who has had some sort of unfortunate experiments done on him. The art was a bit uneven; some parts looked really sharp, while others were a bit too stiff, especially in depicting the runner's form. There seemed to be the germ of a solid idea in there, but it didn't develop quite fast enough for me, instead running in place. See what I did there?

My Grades: A strong C+. I think there's potential here but Boyce needs a bit more work on his storytelling to realize his vision.

by Alexander Diochon

I have to hand it to Fulcrum creator Alexander Diochon for one thing at least: he uses a lot of words. that's not something most creators these days seem to like doing, and for an old school comic fan like myself, it's nice to see someone who remembers that words are half of the magic of comics. Unfortunately, none of the words he uses were interesting to me. This story of prisoners fighting each other or something inside a prison city just left me cold and suffered a bit from what a lot of Zuda entries suffer from, namely a lack of sympathetic characters. I say execute them all.

My Grades: C+. It just didn't do anything for me.

by Lazarus Ray Berry

Well, this one is interesting. The art is pretty good throughout, although it occasionally suffers from over ambition, particularly in Berry's attempts to fuse a gritty fantasy style with manga-inspired character designs. That doesn't always work, but it makes some sense for a story that seems to be trying to combine Conan-esque fantasy with supporting characters form Inuyasha. I didn't hate it, but this may be a case where the creator's vision is too specific to translate well for anybody else reading it. I could see what he was going for, but I couldn't quite see why he was going for it.

My Grades: Another C+, though separately, most of the individual elements might get higher scores. The whole is less than the sum of the parts here.

by Marco Palombelli

Hawkrider is like 20 pages of story fit into an eight page structure not by compressing the storyline but by the simple means of leaving out the rest of the pages. You might be forgiven for reading this through several times to figure out just what is happening, if you happened to like it enough to re-read it, which seems unlikely. I don't mean to sound overly harsh -- the art has potential and the basic concept seemed solid enough -- but I just didn't get this one at all.

My Grades: C-, with the occasionally cool artwork saving it from a lower score.

The other half of the batch. Will they be more exciting than this group? Based on these grades, you'd almost think they have to be, right?

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