Sunday, January 22, 2017


Hurry one and all! Come and see the fantastic sights of a mysterious alternate world full of curious creatures and magical mystery. Watch your step as you slip through the portal into the realm of Otherworldly.
This fantasy webcomic follows five young adults who have recently discovered that they are changelings, magical beings stolen from their families and raised to believe they were human. New to magic and the stranger truths of the world, they seek out their true families and identities while also butting heads with shady characters and dangerous plots.

The Rating

The comic is good, but it doesn’t have any single category where it really stands out. A little polish and some minor adjustments could give some real shine to this rough gem.

The Raves

I do love a good dose of creativity and imagination in a comic. Most fantasy worlds are vaguely medieval, at best with a bit of steampunk. In this comic, the fantasy world metropolis, Alfheim, looks like an idyllic New York City with lush plant-life alongside futuristic technology.
Now there's a place I wouldn't mind being welcomed to!

I can’t begin to tell you what a breath of fresh air that is, and I applaud the creator for taking the setting in a new direction. My only criticism is that we simply don’t get to see enough of it! More, I say, more!

The mythos of changelings is also an interesting inversion. Ordinarily, the story goes that a fay creature steals a human child and leaves one of its own in the human’s place. Here, the roles are reversed and story centers mainly around five changelings, Erin, Barry, Nicole, Jerome, and Lacey, figuring out what and who they are.

In general, the main characters are sympathetic and interesting. The (arguable) protagonist, Erin, is the first one we meet, and her motivation is to find her family after drifting through the foster system all her life. The other characters have their own unique situations and motivations, but the thing they share is the desire to find out the truth about themselves.

The theme of seeking one's personal identity isn't limited to the fantastic, either; all of the characters have some kind of mirroring issue in the human world that ties into their search for their real families. These issues range from enduring an inhospitable work environment to being actively pursued by an evil version of Agent Mulder. Personally, I found Lacey to be the most interesting character. The writing surrounding this seemingly chipper girl is subtle and poignant. It's heavily implied that she feels like a black sheep in her family and it's very heartwarming to see her meeting her real family, with whom she fits in perfectly. However, even after finding them, she seems to realize her human family matters to her too, and she's clearly at a loss for what to do next.

Of course, that's just one of the five. All of the changelings are interesting in their own ways--her story is just the most complete so far.

The Razzes

Unfortunately, not all of the characters are written well. The villains are especially a problem in this comic. They’re meant to be comically stupid, but their smug attitudes and cluelessness make them terribly annoying. The evil Agent Mulder is particularly grating. I like the concept of her character as a threat to the secrecy of the Otherworld, but listening to her is worse than the sound of grinding teeth.
Oh, just shut up.
I would find her a lot her tolerable if she acted more seriously. In fact, her more serious moments tend to be her best. She really fails as a comedic character, but as a legitimate and even malicious threat, she’s a lot more interesting.

The Sidhe twins and their hired hands don't share this redeeming caveat, unfortunately. They’re incredibly incompetent and have zero intriguing menace. That’s not my opinion; the comic outright says they should be dangerous, if only they had a drop of competence. As they are, they're little more than a nuisance And that’s how I see them too. Nuisance.

There's comically inept and there's just plain inept. This is the latter.
I don’t like them. Nope.

The pacing of the comic is a bit awkward as well. The first chapter moves at what seems lightning speed, throwing a lot of ideas at the reader at once without taking the time to explore the wonders of the setting. However, since then, things have slowed down a little to give some breathing room to the characters’ individual arcs. The writing is stronger when it takes a vignette approach, but it still has some weak points. For one thing, the comic seems to set up Erin as the protagonist, but her character development lags behind most of the others'. I believe this is largely because the story has such a focus on family issues, and therefore focuses on the characters who have those issues. She's also a little bland. The other four characters are very expressive; Nicole is bitter, sarcastic, and aggressive, Lacey is quirky and enthusiastic, Barry is a playful gadfly, and poor Jerome is a lovable nervous wreck and adorkable geek. Erin's reserved, deadpan personality sort of fades into the background by comparison.

These don't look like movements so much as still poses with speed lines.
The art, as well, lacks that certain sparkle. The biggest issue is the dynamics. The movements of the characters are stiff and unresponsive. Not even speed lines seem to help bring the motion to life, as the example to the right demonstrates.

The general anatomy of the characters could use some work as well. Hands and limbs seem to be the major weak points in most of the poses. I suggest practicing with gesture drawings to help conquer this issue. This video does a good job explaining gestures.
Other than that, maybe work on the color choices. Most of the colors seem a little dull. Even when the comic uses bright, vivid hues, they just don’t pop. A lot of the pages have a weirdly washed-out quality to them. I suggest using complimentary colors to bring more variety into the page. Blend different colors on the same object, too. Here’s an example of the difference just a little bit of palette-mixing can make.
Notice how monochromatic Troll Dad and the forest look. Also, the lighting on the forearms is inconsistent with his shirt.
Here, the lighting has been corrected and more hues have been added to break up the monochrome, making the colors richer.

The Revue

The devil is in the details with this one. There are plenty of good ideas and possibilities to really pull this thing together. For the time being, though, it has plenty to offer for readers who are big fantasy lovers.

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for the review! Your critiques come at a pretty good time, as I'm just starting to draw Chapter 8 right now, and I could definitely use some artistic advice.

    I also admit that my villains could be modified — while I base them on the kinds of people that aggravate me in real life, perhaps I go a touch too far sometimes. I don't plan on them being very prominent in Chapter 8, so I have some time to really think about where I'm going with them.

    As for Erin...hoo boy, you hit one of my biggest worries with her. I should clarify that while Erin is the closest thing to a protagonist this comic has, it is meant to be more of an ensemble piece. But yeah, I guess I'm holding way too many things about her character to my chest for fear of ruining future plot points. In fact, several character problems you've pointed out could be answered with "I was afraid I would give away too much too soon", and you've helped me realize that I probably shouldn't fuss so much about that.

    Again, thanks for the review! I honestly do appreciate getting more voices outside of my social circle to give their thoughts on this!


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