Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February Zuda Reviews: Part 2

Welcome to part two of our February Zuda reviews. Yesterday we brought you the first batch of five hopefuls, so, naturally, today sees the other half of the field. And so far this month, unlike last month, nobody has been forced to dro out of the competition, so that's a positive as well (though I wouldn't really miss a couple of these to be totally honest). So will today's group be stronger than yesterday's mediocre crop? Let's find out.

Island, Alone
by Rich Fuscia & Shawn Aldridge

The comma in the title is perfectly appropriate for this comic, because there are a number of superfluous commas in the text and dialogue throughout the story. Maybe that's a minor thing, but it irritated me. Anyway, other than that this was pretty good. The art was solid -- starting of a little frenetic for my taste but getting better as it went -- and the plot was okay if nothing groundbreaking. There were a couple non-comma issues with the dialogue, mainly becoming too expository at times, but overall a pretty decent effort that ended with a nice tease.

My Grades: B-. It would get a B if not, for the use of, commas.

by Brock Heasley, David Schlotterback & Michael DeVito

Monsterplex is a fairly fun strip that uses horror tropes for humorous effects; the cineplex in question, which shows only horror movies, turns out to be a full, live experience complete with vampires and zombines and the like, all running roughshod over the (often eaten) audience. While the pacing and dialogue were just a bit on the stiff side, particularly in the beginning, the story ended with a nice twist while the art, though a little bit to Erin Esurance for me, was similarly solid. One of the better efforts this month.

My Grades: B. I'm not sure it will win, but it wouldn't bother me if it did .

New Morning
by Louie Chin

Let's start with the good parts: the graphic design for New Morning is cool and some of the little footnote jokes are amusing enough. The art is also solid, particularly on the first page, which had some bold set-up panels to establish the scene that I thought worked nicely. On the down side, the "narrative" was pretty choppy and barely recognizable as a story. I'm not always a fan of decompression, but some could have been useful here, even if it would have meant some of the material wouldn't have fit inside the eight page restriction.

My Grades: The flavor is nice, but the aftertaste is sour. C+.

Sci-fi Drive By
by Ryan Estrada

On the other hand, Sci-Fi Drive By similarly doesn't present a coherent story, yet I enjoyed it all the same. That may be in part because the vignettes are fairly delineated into separate gags, meaning I wasn't expecting more than separate. I'm not sure how well this kind of structure will hold together in the long run, but for eight pages it amused me. That's not bad.

My Grades: The art was solid even if the last "wi-fi" joke sequence was a bit flat overall. B.

Techno Insecto
by Samir Barrett

Don't look now, but there seems to be a superhero comic in this month's Zuda competition. And even more surprising? It's pretty good. yes, there are some clunky bits of exposition that could be safely removed (such as the main character exclaiming "It's you! The Techno-Organic Insectoid Mechanism!" in his best Stan lee impersonation) as well as some cliched bits (the old "he's not shooting at me after all, he's shooting at the menace behind me!" bit) but overall this is a fast, fun read, thanks in large part to the sharp character designs and vibrant coloring that make the artwork look more like cels from an episode of Teen Titans than a comic book.

My Grades: It could be tightened up some, but it's a pretty convincing package overall. B+.

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