Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Zuda Review: Rogue Royal

Rogue Royal by Chris Garrett

What's to Like:
Adolescent anime with attitude, that's what Rogue Royal feels like. Garrett's submission to the August '09 Zuda competition is fast and fun, utilizing a single botched weapons transaction and its disastrous/hilarious aftermath to establish his protagonist, her motivations and personality. This is smoothly executed, as the character lives up to the rogue portion of the strip's title, and she's a lovable one at that. Her volatile emotions, which drive the story, are wonderfully evident on her face and in her posture throughout the story, and it's the unexpected, yet perfectly timed, shifts in her mood and expressions that have the reader wanting more page after page.

There is a sweet consistency between the art and story in Rogue Royal. Garrett shows a true knack for comic pacing and enhances this essential aspect with shifting perspective and scale. The reader always knows where the protagonist is in relation to her enemies, and her every motion and look blends naturally into the next, even when the next one isn't exactly anticipated. Great work. The overall style of the entry is skillfully maintained throughout, including the rough-hewn but well-placed sound effects. Rogue Royal is a nicely realized vision of the main character in a catastrophically funny predicament.

What it Lacks:
Just one technical criticism - the lettering and word balloons could be crafted more cleanly, but that's a minor issue that only detracts minimally from what's otherwise very visually pleasing work. The only area in which Rogue Royal is really lacking is direction. No overarching storyline is established, and that leaves the impression that an ongoing comic would simply provide repeat episodes similar to the one presented here. Really, there is nothing wrong with that approach, but it would represent a general departure from the Zuda offerings out there now (Night Owls not withstanding...). I realize the synopsis provides the backstory for the submission, but absolutely none of that information is even hinted at in the eight pages presented for the competition. Anticipation of learning more about the character and her journey involving her larger conflict might build to more enthusiasm, which may, in turn, translate into more votes.

My Zuda Rating:
4 Stars. Fun and funny and showcases some true artistic and storytelling talent.

My Vote?
No. As good as it is, Rogue Royal simply does not leave me wanting more.

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