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Daveosaurus

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More web comics [Nov. 17th, 2007|08:17 pm]
Daveosaurus
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[Current Location |Invercargill]
[mood |busybusy]
[music |Yo La Tengo - "Dreams" (yes, the Fleetwood Mac song...)]

Last time I commented on Akaelae and mentioned that it seemed to be related to a few other comics. If anything, I underestimated the scale and nature of the interrelationship. I also guessed something else wrong: it's not a, Earth post-human civilisation; the stories mostly take place in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, but on Cyantia, a planet where humans are only a dim memory, and largely believed a myth. However, most of the anthropomorphic species (but not all the sentient species by a long way) seem to be straight adaptations of Earth species, which raises quite a few questions I hope the comic(s) will get around to answering eventually.

As far as I can tell, The Cyantian Chronicles is the main central point of the comics as a whole. Whatever page shows up there as current seems to be whatever's been updated most recently.

As for the individual stories, first up are a couple of loosely connected stories, both called "Shivae". Shivae: Cler and Shivae: Vas. Both of the stories follow a young Shivae - a winged creature native to Cyantia - and their interactions with other native species, and the anthropomorphic looking newcomers that have just arrived on the planet. (These stories both seem to have taken place hundreds of years ago). Vas' story is the more interesting of the two.

Gralen Cragg Hall seems to be the next in the series. It starts off with a hiss and a roar in a state largely populated by anthropomorphic foxes, where a coup d'etat is in progress; and then follows a small group of refugees as they seek shelter over the border in a neighbouring state. Genoworks Saga shows what's been going on back in the fox state, and the results aren't pretty: it looks like there's a lot of rather suspect genetic engineering and stuff going on, genetically engineered/cloned/whatever stormtroopers and that sort of stuff.

Akaelae is next, and I really must read it again now I've actually figured out what some of the jargon means.

Sink or Swim is one of the weirder ones of these stories, which isn't a bad thing, although you need to have a high tolerance for the bizarre here. It's obvious from this one what whoever created the species that emigrated to Cyantia had been pilfering genetic material (or whatever) from throughout Earth (or somewhere so similar to Earth as to have the same basic species): here, the main characters are a bunch of anthropomorphic kangaroos - including a tree kangaroo: possibly the most obscure species I've seen in anything anthropomorphic - and the token non-`roo seems to be a shark-man. (Unfortunately he fades out of the story fairly quickly). The story itself is fairly much space opera (again, not a bad thing) with a bit of adventure, a bit of intrigue and a lot of flashbacks. (Seems the `roos started off as another Genoworks project, but they didn't like it and Got Out).

Campus Safari seems to be set a decade or so after "Akaelae"... and it looks like the universe has got its own revenge on the annoying little snot from "Akaelae" who Knew All The Answers And Gave The Teachers Hell. He - Darius Akaelae - is now a teacher himself. Not just any teacher either. He's been landed with looking after an outpost on Mars (!) which they're busy terraforming, ready to announce their existence to Earth and offer them a newly terraformed Mars as a gift. (Needless to say, the Earth authorities already know about this - and, as could be expected, take it entirely the wrong way and assume that the Cyantians are using Mars as a base from which to conquer Earth.) Anyway, Darius is looking after the school, and his two young orphaned sisters (apparently, between "Akaelae" and this story, there has been A Big War with Many Casualties). The latter sisters give him more strife than the rest of the school combined, which is quite an achievement.

One problem is that, with numerous parts of the same story being told at once, some of them seem to be going off at a bit of a tangent with things happening in one comic that should have major effects on other comics, not really being reflected anywhere else. Cesilee's Diary and No Angel seem particular victims of this, which is a bit of a shame as the latter contains one of the more interesting characters of the bunch (and definitely the most interesting Earthling).

Basically, "Campus Safari" starts off with a couple of Cyantians accidentally ending up on Earth, having to lie low for a couple of days until they can be rescued, but with added complications involving a couple of Earthlings which now, due to having made extraterrestrial contact, now have to be taken to Mars For Their Own Good. One of them (the more sensible one) takes the whole idea of alien abduction rather badly, even if the aliens seem friendly. The other one... once on Mars, spends most of his time in trouble for ogling the local womenfolk (Human, Cyantian, he isn't fussy). "Cesilee's Diary" largely deals with a Cyantian who is planning on beating this particular Earthling at his own game. "No Angel" is more concerned with the one who knows she's been abducted, and is trying her hardest to Get Out Of Here And Get Back To Earth. With the help of a couple of blokes who look fairly normal, except for their wings. Which makes them rather bad at blending in to the background.

All in all, this is a decently readable bunch of stories, although there is still a huge amount of work to be done in filling the gaps between the stories that have already been told.

Asheron is an odd little story, and quite likeable so far. It hasn't progressed very far yet, but has already managed to be almost cute and quietly horrific at the same time. The titular character is some sort of fuzzy dragon chick... dragonet... Thing... rendered in a well crafted but unusual art style (almost looking like the sort of effect you get with artwork printed on blankets) and even though all that's happened so far is he's hatched, monologued and had a quick look around, it's already caught my attention.

The Kitchen Sink is more than a little strange. Two (married) gamer geeks move into a house with an interdimensional portal in the kitchen. Strangeness begins to happen. Presentation is notably amateur, but the dialogue gets good sometimes.

Purgatory Tower features an interesting - if motley - cast of characters, but the big star here is the concept itself. A bunch of convicts have been given a chance at freedom; all they have to do is climb a tower and get to its top. However, once they walk through the doors of the tower's ground floor, it becomes apparent that Something Is Up. So far the story's been progressing well while still fleshing out its concepts. Very good.

Wolf Antlers is more than a little weird. Not bad or anything though. Will really have to wait until there's more story behind it before I have any real opinions on it.

As for Wolf Tears... well, I can't really describe it yet, not because of any indescribability but because this is about as close to the ground floor as I've ever started reading a web comic. Three pages so far. Will keep it on the keeping an eye on list until I find out whether it's going to be good or not.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: syke
2008-06-18 09:33 pm (UTC)
*Following a trackback from her new setups*
ERGH!! I swear I am really going to fix the timeline thing! I will have a reader's guide as well once I'm done with this round of site upgrades.
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-06-20 11:29 am (UTC)
First I must thank you for writing and drawing these comics in the first place; they have been most enjoyable to read and you've got a particularly interesting set of characters to read about. I just have this bad habit of desperately looking for something I can grumble about to balance out a review if I find myself about to go overboard in writing out how much I like a particular comic.

Don't get me wrong: the stories aren't particularly hard to follow or anything; in fact, the thing that confused me most was some of the jargon the characters use (I had no idea what a "lift" was the first time I read through Akaelae, although I did sort of get the idea that it wasn't quite the same thing that I normally call a "lift", and that, I understand, Americans call "an elevator").

Since writing this short review I've re-read some of the series (and bought a few in hard-copy; it was I who once intruded into a comic discussion page to ask whether Indy Planet delivered to foreign countries) and now have definite favourites of your comics: Akaelae, Campus Safari and No Angel. These have also all held up well upon re-reading.
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