Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Zuda Review: Arctic

Arctic by Ghost

What's to Like:
Wow. Gorgeous comic art in this one, and utilized in skillful sequential fashion, with shifting perspective and scale. Terrific use of colors is ever-present, especially the contrast of the white setting with the other, physically smaller story visuals. I was really impressed with how the snow effects were used throughout. The panel layouts are nice and easy to follow, and there were plenty of well-timed, large panels to showcase the artist's talent and bring emphasis to critical story points. Well done! I found myself digi-thumbing through Arctic several times just appreciating the visuals.

What it Lacks:
It's pretty, but the story itself just didn't engage me. The amnesiac crash survivor who remembers THIS but doesn't remember THAT, all at the convenience of the author, is a tired theme for me. And the way the amnesia is represented in story terms was really over-done with regard to the sheer number of questions asked of the protagonist by himself. Seriously, it lasts for three full screens. One final gripe on this note - the reader is supposed to believe that the memory-impaired crash survivor doesn't remember what snow is, but he remembers the name of an alien species and the use of the term wreckage. Doesn't wash.

Also, the text was heavy-handed in terms of exposition, when the art was so well executed that some of the verbage could have been completely eliminated. For example, on screen 5, as our amnesiac protagonist cautiously approaches the starship wreckage, he thinks, "Maybe the wreckage will give me more clues." It's obvious from the beautifully crafted image in this panel that he is approaching the wreckage to find out what happened to him. It's a case of letting the art speak for itself, and the creator would do well here, and throughout this story, to recognize that he already places such thoughts in the readers' brains with his thoughtful, moody visuals without beating us over the head with words.

My Zuda Rating:
3 Stars. This creator knows how to draw comics and can probably craft a thought-provoking and fascinating story. The words and pictures just need to come into proper balance to tell the story with the intended mood. VERY close to being excellent. Keep at it.

My Vote?
No. I enjoy sci-fi on Zuda, in particular, but Absolute Magnitude is hands-down better this month.


Crackwalker said...

I don't know why people have a problem with the amnesia thing - it's a dramatic device. Do you want to read a fun mystery or a story that contains a clinically-accurate depiction of dissociative amnesia? It's an adventure story, not a textbook.

The challenge is to introduce an interesting story in 8 pages, and having the character narrate what they're doing as they do it is a time-honoured comics tradition dating back to Stan Lee.

Ghost said...

Exactly, This is entertainment its not a medical textbook. I know you're a psych grad from your profile but dude! Not only is your review inaccurate but it is also biased. In the last line you actually name another comic which has a completely different story and say that one is better?!! That's not a review! that's your personal opinion! and yes, there is a difference between the two. If you don't know what it is I suggest you take some journalism classes or stop wasting everyone's time.

Omegamanda said...

Woo, you certainly hit a nerve there, Blue. As far as this entry goes, I thought the art was fine- not my cup of tea- but ok. I wasn't feeling the story much. In my OPINION, if you can't grab my attention in 8 screens then it is just another one of many amnesia stories- a dramatic device that has been done to death.

The creator obviously does not like to see his work criticized. Since he's trying to attack you personally. Bad form.

RKB said...

I'll save what I have to say about Arctic for my own upcoming blog review, but I became a follower for solidarity.