Saturday, July 30, 2016

Saturday Revue July 30: Kila Ilo

Fire Up Those Engines!
It's Time To Fly With

Kila Ilo, the creation of  Cassie Thomas, is an offbeat jaunt through science fiction. Imagine Lilo and Stitch written for adults, and throw in a little Torchwood for good measure. Then remove all the human protagonists and replace them with truly inhuman characters. Now you're getting the picture.
Kila Ilo, the titular character, is not somebody you want to mess with. She's on the wanted list of quite a few planets and her past is...shall we say patchy? She is, after all, The Patchwork Queen. Oh, and she can and will bite. She's none too happy about ending up on a dead end contract to hunt up an ancient weapon on a dead end planet called Earth, but she's going to have to make the best of it.

The Rating

The ship's got a few dings, but she's spaceworthy all right!

The Raves

'Kila Ilo' has all the elements of a good sci-fi; a terrible ancient weapon, a motley crew of aliens, a doggedly determined law enforcement agent and a protagonist with enough skeletons in her closet to supply a Halloween fun fair. But for a snarky-sweet romp through sci-fi look no further!
I've been waiting to review Kila Ilo for some time, and it definitely met my expectations. There's a good sense of pacing to this work, with jokes at all the right moments and dialogue that keeps things moving along at a good clip. There's a dry wittiness to the work that keeps things endlessly charming and infuses old sci-fi cliches with new life. The creator's taken full advantage of their chance to comment on the absurdities of the human condition by giving inhuman characters the chance to comment on it, with delightful results.
But it's not all fun and games. A surprisingly introspective thread weaves through the snark and the silliness; in Kila Ilo the creator has explored the depths and complex meanings of friendship, loyalty, loneliness and the marks our past leaves on our personalities.

At its best, the art is stylistically interesting and eye catching, a nice stylistic balance between 90's cartoon and watercolor-inspired charm.

The vibrant color palette brings the world to life, and the slightly green tinge to the color scheme keeps strong the flavor of the odd and the otherworldly. At its best, the art is beautiful, especially in the case of singular vignettes with white backgrounds used for title pages. These pieces shine.

The Razzes

Unfortunately, the art doesn't always hit its best level. It tends to show when the creator is enjoying a piece, and when they're not, or when they've gotten out of their depth on a scene. When that happens, the art falls flat. Literally.

Despite attempts at shading, the creator often seems to forget-or grow lax on- issues of perspective and shading. The result is less than impressive compared to other areas of the comic. If the work was consistently hitting its high points, it'd be an automatic ten in my book, but pages like this example 

drag the rest of the work down. I'd love to see the creator focus a little more on their perspective and contour shading and focus on creating a truly well rounded art style. Contour shading isn't easy, that's true. But remembering where shadows fall and putting them in proper place is what gives reality to a world.
I think the creator of Kila Ilo would to well to make a serious study of the way light and shadow falls on objects. Improving their shading in general will vastly improve the overall work. If I were the creator, I'd try studying something like this photographer's guide to lighting.

 Even going back to the basics could be a good exercise. Remember 'draw shapes' and 'shade the egg' exercises from high school art class? Those exercises are still a good idea.
 We've seen what they can do at their best and it's wonderful; now I want to see their best become their standard!

The Revue

A fun and funky romp through the space lanes. Give it a read!

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