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Ulti's Comic Reviews

Ulti's Comic Reviews

by Ultizeta
Welcome to Ulti's Comic Reviews! I am your host, Ultizeta, and this is my new and improved hub for reviewing webcomics of my fellow Smack Jeeves peers. Feel free to submit your own comic to be looked at by commenting down below or messaging me, but READ THE RULES FIRST. These can be found on the first page of the site, as well on the tab at the top of each page.

Unlike my previous review site, this version of Ulti Reviews will focus less on being entertaining and nitpicky, and more on proper critique and general analysis. I intend to focus on the author's benefit more than other readers of the review.

Review requests are OPEN!
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Ulti's Comic Reviews

Welcome to Ulti's Comic Reviews! I am your host, Ultizeta, and this is my new and improved hub for reviewing webcomics of my fellow Smack Jeeves peers. Feel free to submit your own comic to be looked at by commenting down below or messaging me, but READ THE RULES FIRST. These can be found on the first page of the site, as well on the tab at the top of each page.

Unlike my previous review site, this version of Ulti Reviews will focus less on being entertaining and nitpicky, and more on proper critique and general analysis. I intend to focus on the author's benefit more than other readers of the review.

Review requests are OPEN!


Recent Comments

Hey, it's me again. I'd like my comic to be reviewed, which isn't quite at 25 pages yet but it will be within the next week, so you can work off of that.

Here's the link:

Thanks in advance!
@Punchy: For the most part, I don't think there's much I can respond to here. You've elaborated on your own points and I don't believe much I can say about the parts I still disagree with will sway you otherwise at this point, so we'll simply have to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

However, there is one aspect I want to reply to, and it's that you're using "we just want to make this for fun" as an excuse to not go forward with the extra work and stress of maintaining visual consistency. And yes, you're right, almost all multi-author comics don't go that extra mile, mainly because they are just for-fun projects with friends and communities. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The problem then comes from seeking a critical and serious review of a "just for fun" project. Even if it wasn't you specifically who asked, this is very visibly what I say on the description of this site, on the rules, and hopefully implied through my advice. I don't want to give comics a pass or ignore aspects of how I feel it could be improved just because they're "for fun", mainly because any comic that I'm looking at for this site is not something that I *want* to be just "for fun". If you're annoyed that my visual criticisms are coming from a place that is taking the project too seriously, then this comic really should never have been presented to me in the first place.

Again, it wasn't you who requested it, so I'm not blaming you (or Brawlitup) by any means. I just think, if nothing else, that it may help you at least understand why I keep bringing it up. If the project is just a side project for you and the others to have fun telling a story about your characters fighting each other, then by all means, keep it up, and do whatever you'd like with it. Not every comic needs to be a serious project. But when I give a comic that is seeking serious critical review, I will give it the same kind of treatment no matter how many authors it has. There's a difference in how people treat projects depending on how serious it is, and you illustrated that perfectly by talking about how it would create more work and stress than necessary for authors to collaborate on every single aspect that they possibly could. I agree with that entirely, but if it were a serious project, then that is the kind of work I would expect. Since my rules ask for only serious projects, that is what I expected of 8-Bit Author Tournament, and why I treated it the way I did. You can see the difference in treatment when I earlier looked at House of Craziness, another big author comic that got requested before I had the rules in place, and I understood it to not be a very serious project.

All in all, what I'm saying is: you're right about consistent visuals not being worth the effort in your kind of situation, and for most other author comics out there as well. I just was not aware of it BEING that situation since it got requested for review, and anyone else reading this who may be considering requesting a review of a multi-authored comic should keep in mind that a project made simply for fun would not be the best way to receive critical and serious advice.
@Ultizeta: I forgot about this lol

Time to whip up a response.

So like... I understand that the human characters (barring Roland) use the Mega Man base, but I still have to completely disagree that they even look similar. Every single one has a unique trait to them that differentiates them from the other "lookalikes." As I said before the only ones I can even think that look similar are Kaizen and Casey, due solely to the hairstyle (which is like... one of the biggest defining traits with Mega Man styled sprites).

I'll agree: There's been little characterization. That's being worked on. That is something that has been internally acknowledged.

I made the Kirby comparison because in the past you have given a pass to Kirby comics despite the fact that most are all Kirby with a different color and hat. The characterization aspect comes into play, I understand, but I was making a point that visually, you can't really call out the sprites for looking similar when they all have a lot more defining traits than being a different color or having a different hat. Characterization? Yeah. I agree with you.

Part of the reason the pacing is awkward in these first pages is because they were done at a point where each author made their own page to contribute to the fight, it being a back and forth exchange, thus coming off as rough. Pace can easily be broken if two authors are not collaborating on a script. That logic doesn't apply here as well because it's a tournament comic, both authors (and characters) are trying to beat their opponent, leading to weird pacing. It's a fundamental flaw in the genre.

That being said, there is a plan to remake the early pages of the first arc, to provide a better flow to the story. I reread the comic myself, and yeah, that shit is rough in the beginning. At this point in time, the focus is ending the first arc but as we move into the second arc, the beginning pages WILL be remade, hopefully providing better flow and pacing to the ongoing plot, now that the comic has become more of a collaborative effort.

My logic to ending the fights quickly is this: as I stated previously, the authors BlueFireDragon, Crash Guy, kmarwx, the guy behind Refrigerate (idk what his username was), and Cascade have all seemingly left SJ, and thus the characters in the comic either disappear or stick around under the title of new authors. And considering one of the characters was LITERALLY Charizard and the other was a recolored Napalm Man, I personally figured it'd be best to just work them out of the comic so the reboot could be achieved.

I honestly think you missed the point of Casey and Refrigerate dying quickly though. Yeah, it was a quick death but it was done primarily to show how powerful this new threat, and build up the supposed "final battle" against him in the arc's conclusion. He's an over-the-top god, who somehow needs to be defeated or everyone dies. That's the point of them dying so early, it's me trying to build up the character as this sadistic overpowered being who won't hesitate to kill everyone, instead of just being "That Over-Powered Edgy Super Saiyan."

Why I did what I did was also in response to poor writing on my part a year ago when I built Kaizen up for the tournament. I deliberately did make him overpowered for shits and giggles, and coming into the reboot of this comic where Brawl wanted to build up a grander story, I didn't want this character to be part of it, but I also wanted a conclusion to the original bracket that me and my buddies had joined the comic originally for.

That's the endgame, the finals of the original bracket started well over a year ago.

Now. In response to the overpowered characters. I have a lot to say on this one.

First: I will confirm that the overpowered characters in question (Kaizen, Ian, Rick) will all disappear after this arc. The reason they are the way they are in this comic is to provide consistency to how they WERE when we started this up. Yeah, I could have easily said "Okay, Kaizen lost his Super Saiyan and Time Stop abilities." for no other reason than to balance him for the tournament. But in-universe, it wouldn't make sense for him to lose his power like that. I did that once for Punchy in Blank World to get rid of his Super Saiyan powers (which Kaizen also had at the time of his inception because I hadn't retconned it in Blank World yet), and it was a hassle, and I'm still not satisfied with how I handled it. My solution here was to be like "alright he's just an alternate universe version of the canon Kaizen who is a Saiyan."

I'm digressing but that's the point here. We're keeping them overpowered for the first arc and then they're gone from that point onwards. The reason the retcons don't apply to them is because me and TimeSceo are still working on a plot involving these abilities within the comic. It's part of the ongoing plot. That's why it's not retconned. Yes the tournament """""balance""""" is out of whack, but it's because me and TimeSceo enjoy a big grand DBZ styled battle of overpowered characters. I'm sorry you don't like that and have an issue with it, but it is going away at the beginning of the next art.

Secondly, don't bring up fighting game balance to a guy who plays fighting games competitively and knows what he's talking about lol

Ah. Yes. The complex bullshit segment. I'll commend you on using my own words against me.

The alternate dimension direction isn't irrelevant to the comic, it explains why different fighters who come from different worlds with different sets of rules can all coexist on this plane of reality. Admittedly, yes, you have me there in the fact that we don't know why the gods want to watch that tournament, however this directly counteracts your point of you not having an issue with the resolution of the plot. Should it be explained at the beginning? Maybe. It's certainly something you can do. But the fact that the readers DON'T know why the gods want to watch the tournament is something for later down the line. Yeah, you can be like "well if the readers don't know what the point of this is, how do we get attached to the story." I dunno. The fights? Why else would you read a tournament comic lol

But that, along with other reasons is set to be explained later on. Also the pages will be remade later on, as the group collectively agrees that the beginning of the tournament is weak and provides 0 context for what's happening. That'll be addressed in the page remakes.

As I said before though, the goal now is to finish this arc, this plotline, before moving into the next arc (while subsequently fixing up the previous pages). That's just the direction we're going in now, and things WILL be adjusted and fixed, just not at the current moment.

Yes, you are correct. The readers are not the authors. Even I forget about that sometimes. Again, as someone who did reread the comic and I can completely agree with you that the original pages are extremely confusing, the issue is going to be resolved.

Rebooting the comic is out of the question, still. At least for me personally, that's hours upon hours of work I've spent on making comics that are no longer relevant or will be touched upon because of a full reboot. The other part is that I like the comic the way it is, I like what we've all done with it so far, and things are going to be adjusted. It's not about losing plans it's about hours of time wasted because of starting from scratch. Combine this with the fact that we DO plan on remaking pages, and honestly I just do not see a point to rebooting from scratch. Plus I know me personally, I would heavily lose interest in even putting time into the comic if we have to retread previously established ground. The comic remakes will fix things up and provide a better seamless experience than a full on restart.

(also sidenote: tbh if the comic had just fully restarted when Brawl revived it it'd be different, but instead we kinda accidentally continued what we started, and i think at this point it's just better to roll with what we've got)

Oh, here we go. The "visual clashes."

That's fine to dislike it. But to criticize every author comic for it is just... Come on, why would you read author comics then if it bothers you that much? Y'know, other than the fact that you're asked to review them.

One of my biggest peeves with you in this argument about the visual style is you claim it has a lack of cooperation aspect tied into it.

The first flaw in your logic about wanting it all to have similar visual styles is meaning that requires authors to all come to the same level in terms of quality, something that is fairly impossible considering the fact that it's multiple people working on visuals and plot. People utilize different programs, and in their own comics have vastly different styles that are typically easier for them to use. By asking for every author to make their comics look the same, while it does make the page-to-page transitions smoother, significantly gimps authors who typically make "higher quality" pages. I don't say that to put people down. It limits the creativity of the authors to adapt to a mold that doesn't fit them, especially if they can't use Photoshop or Gimp, or if someone who uses Photoshop needs to come down visually to the level of someone who uses Paint. It creates a bigger strain than I think you realize to all adapt to the same visual style. Yes. I agree, that it helps the page-to-page interaction and smoothens the experience for the reader. But in a multiauthor sprite comic where the authors are all already collaborating on a story together and doing this mostly for fun, it creates more work and stress than necessary.

At that point you might as well have only one person do visuals, and at that point why would you have more than two authors at all? Sure, more people get to collaborate on the story and writing but if one person is doing the visuals then what's the point of having more than just one writer one artist? Not to mention, each author is able to express their own characters the way they want to by everyone making their own page their way. You're never going to have someone else fully understand your characters and the way they are written the way you do if someone else is always doing it for you. And if a group is unable to adapt to a similar looking visual style, where do you go from there?

Differing visual styles, while typically clashing, are unique to author comics, which are done primarily with the intent of having fun. If differing visual styles really bother someone that much, in my opinion, they should just read a solo comic by whoever's visual style they like the most instead, because if the way effects and speech bubbles look are enough to make you dislike a comic, clearly the comic and author comics in general are not for you.

Alright, here we go with the autoplay music now.

As I stated before, my comics, when they have autoplay music, are meant to be read with said music. That's the "artist's intention" so to speak. I understand that people do, in fact, use the internet. I also understand most webcomics don't have music. If I could do flash animations instead, I would as that is how I build my webcomics in mind, and typically a song is in my head during the actual creation of the webcomic, which is how I'd like it to be read. That is how I, the "artist" am presenting my work, how I want it to be experienced. That's fine if you listen to something else while reading comics.

However, clicking the mute button on a tab requires no more effort than switching tabs in most browsers. It doesn't take as much effort as you claim it to be, if nothing more it's a minor inconvenience, and something you personally don't enjoy.

Believe me, I do know that people don't like autoplay. But as I said, that's how I am presenting my work. You're correct, I could put something in the title of the page to show it has sound. I'll consider that in the future.

My point doesn't change that it takes no more than two clicks in most browsers to mute a tab though. It's not really a Herculean task to accomplish to turn off music.

Once again, I appreciate you doing the review but I find many fundamental flaws and non-applicable advice within your words. That's just my opinion, and this all boils down to opinion, neither of us really have any "facts."

That being said, I've said all I need to. I hope you have a swell day.
@Ultizeta: :/ Well, I mean of course you aren't infallible. You know, even with my own review I noticed you had some worries about character development that I had already planned to delve pretty deep with further on in the story, but rather than yell at you for "not knowing the future of my comic" I just thought hey, you know it is nice of him to be concerned about something like that because it proves to me that he really does want to see comics succeed. :/ Even though I asked for a review pretty early on in the story, I wouldn't have asked for a review if I didn't feel like there was enough there for you to grasp at least the initial direction of the story and main characters. If everything about a comic still needs to be given time for a reader to understand either of those things and you are almost fifty pages in... Then what is there to review? If the story is an afterthought, like they've been saying it is, then how can they be offended when a reader thinks the story could use some work?
@artofjoe: First, that guest is just a guest, they have nothing to do with the authors of this comic as far as I can tell, and I would *like* to have the benefit of the doubt that it's not an author hiding behind a non-account.

Secondly, there's nothing wrong with contesting some of my points. I'm not infallible, and debate can be healthy so long as it is respectful. Someone telling me that my criticism isn't properly constructive is a better thing than just not responding at all.
Can't we be civil?
@Guest: Wow. Uh, why do we have to debate a review? :/ I mean for real, why debate? A suggestion is a suggestion, take it or leave it. Tbh, redoing a comic is not REALLY going to be that difficult, especially if you already have the characters planned out. I plan to reboot half of my already massive library at some point in the future. If you honestly believe that following a suggestion isn't going to help you, don't follow it. :/ Just be thankful he put effort into reviewing something he probably never would have read without being asked. Take what has been said into consideration, and move on with your life instead of wasting his and your time by arguing with him because he "doesn't know the future of your comic, so he should just give it time", because hey, guess what, NO CRITIC EVER WILL and you can't expect them to. He is judging based off his knowledge of what you have so far, take it or flipping leave it be. If you are still at a stage that "needs time to actually be anything" then why the heck would you ask for a review?
another wrong opinion by Ulti Kirby Cock Sucker
@Punchy: I will admit that perhaps saying that the characters looking similar and being easy to confuse wasn't quite really the issue. The characters DO look similar, though, because they all use the same base of "Mega Man". Head shape, eye shape, body shape, it all feels very similar, and so it's not unreasonable to confuse them. The main issue, though, is just that since they've mainly been just fighting, there hasn't been much opportunity to learn their characterizations. This results in characters that are difficult to tell apart just based on personality alone, so combining that with similar character-bases and it becomes a noteworthy issue.

And yes, you can definitely argue the same thing about Kirby-styled characters. While most of the time, Kirby characters use recolors to differentiate their appearances with bright color differences or different powers and hats, it's still not very diverse character design. I agree with you, but I also don't see how it's very relevant to this. This comic only has one Kirby character, so Quirby is very easy to identify among his peers.

The fights I was thinking of when I said they took too long was the fight against the two characters in Mario 3's Bowser Land, with the shapeshifter, as well as the fight in Napalm Man's stage with the Charizard and panel-breaker. It was less about the number of pages, and more about the pacing of the fights being very slow, with it feeling to me that not much was resulting from individual pages. The fight I was thinking of being over too quickly was the one with Quirby in the Tetris stage, due to the opponent essentially growing tired of the fight and suddenly one-shotting Quirby.

I would argue that ending fights with other author characters quickly was not a necessity. They already received new pages anyway, so continuing their fights to end in a more reasonable way wouldn't have been that outlandish. Even if you were worried that too much unsanctioned continued use of characters belonging to ex-authors would result in those ex-authors being unhappy, well, they still got used anyway, and I would at least think they would be more happy that their characters got a more appropriate send-off than "quickly destroyed by another author being possessed by overpowered alternate-dimension other-author".

The overpowered characters NEED something done about them, though, is the problem. You can't really have an interesting or competitive tournament with characters that can wipe the floor with the others near-effortlessly. Think of it like a fighting game. For an ideal competitive game, the roster needs to be as balanced as possible. Yes, some characters WILL be better than others, but that's for sake of diversity. However, there are situations where a character will be TOO much better than others. In those situations, they'd either be banned by the competitive scene, or patched by the developers to be nerfed and made more balanced as a result. This is what you guys need to try and do with your characters. Don't be afraid to make changes. If you're against the idea of a full-on reboot, that doesn't mean you can't still modify or retcon what's already taken place (in fact, retcons already have happened, so there's no argument against retconning the overpowered characters). It's not good to just say "they've been like that since the comic began, it can't be changed". When it throws the entire balance of your tournament out-of-whack, I think it will be worth the sacrifice, plus it can give you a chance to solve the issue creatively. The essence of the character doesn't need to be removed, just the over-the-top skills that significantly alter the course of fights need to be lessened in effect.

In your own words, you've described the lore and worldbuilding of this second arc as "complex bullshit". I have not been criticizing the story direction because it hasn't been resolved yet. I understand that it's a work-in-progress, I know that it's not finished. My issue is the fact that it is, as you put it, "complex bullshit" in the first place. The comic's direction into alternate dimensions is largely irrelevant to the issues that I talked about in the review. It says that there are different worlds and an infinite multiverse with higher beings that are hosting a tournament, but it explains nothing about why they want to watch this tournament, why fighters are in the tournament, what the fighters get from the tournament, or even where the characters are in general. Really, as far as I can tell, it's main purpose has been to just introduce the evil Kaizen to wipe out the ex-author competitors. The comic is still lacking crucial context, and I feel it would be more important to focus on that context rather than go down this more confusing path that, even if it's relevant as a whole and I just can't see that due to not having future planned information, still feels less important than the critical context.

I also approached this comic from a different viewpoint than you are. Disregarding the whole "you're a co-author and I'm not" aspect, you're viewing the comic almost as two separate comics: the early pages, and the newer pages. You're seeing the newer pages as redemption for the early pages, them as the "actual" comic, the main focus. The problem with that is, in order to get to those newer and better pages, you still need to get through the early problem pages. This is the perspective that I'm coming from: the comic as a whole. Yes, Brawlitup has done a decent job from what I've seen at working with what he's got and doing the best he can, but, using your analogy, salvaging a plot out of a "shitstorm" doesn't mean that the result still won't be, well, made out of "shit". Now, Brawlitup mentioned remaking the earlier pages, and that WILL solve a good chunk of issues, especially visual ones and potentially pacing ones as well. After posting the review, I've also noticed that there was a two-page introduction added recently, whereas the original beginning didn't occur until what is currently page 3. Additional page-inserts to help explain things or context will also be very manageable and helpful to actually getting RID of the "shit". But as I was unable to know of Brawlitup's plans in that regard beforehand, it was entirely reasonable for me to feel very concerned about the fact that no matter how good the later pages have gotten or how great future pages may be, the early pages would still mar potential first impressions and opinions, and those are very important to attracting new readers. Many of my suggestions also hinged on the idea of rebooting the comic entirely, perhaps a mistake on my part, but that may help put into perspective why I had the problems I had and why I suggested some of the things I did.

Something I don't quite get is your insistence that it would be a mistake to restart the comic. I can understand reluctance, it would indeed mean about 45 pages of work would no longer be usable, but only about 18 of those pages are recent works. "At this point in the game", you're really not THAT far into the comic, and only about five months into the revival of the comic. No offense, but it really would not be that severe of a loss to start from the beginning again. Not to mention, you really wouldn't necessarily have to lose your plans. In a theoretical reboot, you would be able to insert your plans in sooner than expected, or simply rework them to fit into the new timeline of pages instead. You would be using these same tournament competitors presumably, so I don't quite see the issue there. Additionally, getting used to the idea of plans changing or not being very rigid could be helpful for future works. Flexibility is an important skill for authors to learn.

You are speaking to somebody who has, in fact, participated in co-authored comics before. I do indeed know what an author comic is. Just because many author comics have vastly different visual styles, though, does not mean it's a good aspect of them. Yes, I've frequently argued against it, and regardless of whether or not people listen to me as you claim, that doesn't mean that my arguments are automatically wrong, nor does it mean I've never had any arguments and merely stated that I disliked it. Perhaps I haven't actually reiterated my arguments in a while, though, so I'll do so now:

The problem with having conflicting visual styles is that it means that the comic itself has no real consistency or visual identity. That is, instead, sacrificed for author identity. This is an issue primarily because it makes a comic difficult to read and get used to. Every single comic has its own visual quirks, but when a comic has brand new sets of quirks to learn for every single page, it can get very tiring very quickly. It can also create severe visual whiplash when one page may have highly-detailed visuals and the next has the bare minimum of effort put into it. Plus, I also feel it signals a lack of cooperation. You argue that individual styles act as a watermark for page responsibility, but I argue that any comic with multiple authors, whether it be two or fifteen or anywhere in-between, should NEVER have pages that are solely attributed to one person. A co-author comic needs cooperation, and that means working together to create pages, even if only one person at a time is actually directly working on visuals. A comic shouldn't pride itself on individuality when it's an overall team effort. Plus, you can just use an author comment to show who worked on a page, if you really want credit to be acknowledged.

Also, I continue to argue against it because, even if it "never changes", I will at least not be conceding to something that I genuinely think is poor design just because it's commonplace.

I admire your dedication to trying to expand the reach of comic pages and the senses they can affect, but I don't care for your tone. The problem with autoplaying music, though, is that reading webcomics is not a sole activity. Many people online like to multitask. While you could argue that having music meant to be played on a comic page is like how a movie has a score meant to be played during particular scenes, or a similar auditory analogy, the difference here is that webcomics are, 99% of the time, a silent affair. I like to browse the internet while listening to music, or to podcasts, or to YouTube videos or Twitch streams. This causes a problem when I try to do something like read a comic and suddenly have my ears assaulted with discordant tones due to an unexpected autoplaying song. I can also guarantee that I'm not alone in this regard. Saying that "the browser has a mute button" is not wrong, but serves nothing to solve the core of the issue, that being you're expecting readers to put effort into dealing with the problem instead of taking care of it personally. If you absolutely cannot do without removing the autoplaying videos, then instead I suggest adding a warning to the pages that have it, and putting a start delay on the song being used so that it doesn't start immediately, giving readers a chance to realize that a song is about to start playing and pause what they may already be listening to, or leave the page before it becomes an issue.

A full reboot was not the only way I saw this comic, or any comic, succeeding, and you can see this if you look at my other reviews and the suggestions I gave to them. The reason why I focused on that for this review was because I believed it would be the BEST course of action, not the ONLY course. Since you have refuted that option entirely, I hope that some of the other small bits of advice or more detailed elaboration on my issues that I've put into this response comment may help you out more.
*sticks my leg into the comments cuz WHOA dude..*
i want to give my thoughts; i agree that it would be waaay too much work to undermine like 2 years of work from many people, even though there is a lot of problems. but i believe that with what we have, it could be fixed. like if we were to cut the parts that drag on, or to add more to whats lacking. because we need to think; whats approachable to the average viewer! not specifically towards those who know what a tournament comic is, or a multiple author comic.
so wat im saying is yeah reboot is too much, but with some EXTREME editing, it would be cool! theres really a lot of awesome ideas that just havent been seen yet in this story. but i can understand that from an outsiders point of view that things can seem really confusing, which is a huge deal, impressions matter.
real quick tho, it would be weird if context of the tournament were to be given like 40+ pages in, unless thats something thats emphasized throughout the comic, which it hasnt really. just good ol battle timez. IDK my opinion probly doesnt matter too much cuz ive been here for like 4 seconds and my contributions so far have just been the cover oops.
*backs up into the shadows*
for thousands of years i lay dormant waiting for the perfect opportunity

that day has finally come

pros of this review: my name was first on the list of authors

cons of this review: everything

Okay that's a gross overestimation but I have a lot to say in response to this review.

First off, I appreciate the compliments in response to the visual style and general positive response to the comic as of late. And I will reconfirm that yeah, since the comic's reboot we've been all working closer together in order to tell whatever story this comic is about.

In reference to the problems you listed:

Visual style, yes, not all of the comics are equal in terms of how they're put together. Especially at the beginning when (and I don't say this to put down anybody) only a few of us who were part of the comic at the beginning had a good amount of experience at making sprite comics. So yeah, towards the beginning there's some rough pages and as Brawl said, there's plans to return and revisit them. The human Mega Man based characters looking similar I honestly disagree with, especially considering they all wear different colors (and Mega Ian is the most complex out of all of them), and other than Casey and Kaizen having somewhat similar hairstyles, I would just chalk that up to the visual style of the sprites we're using. You can argue the same thing about Kirby styled characters which are worse offenders than what we're doing.

I'd kind of like to know what fight scenes "take too long" and are "over too quickly." Once the comic rebooted, some of the fight scenes involving characters whose authors were no longer around had to be ended quickly so the plot could proceed. In response to the "overpowered" characters, there's not much that can be done about that, especially considering the two worst offenders have been like that since the comic's inception a year ago.

In reference to the context behind the tournament: Again as Brawl said, the comic started off in a very different state and I think props need to be given to him instead of criticism for trying to salvage a plot out of the original shitstorm that was the comic. We're adding lore and worldbuilding so the second arc of this comic can be better than the first. Most of your complaints about "muddying" everything prove you understand what's going on but are criticizing it due to the fact that we haven't gotten to the resolution and payoff of all this complex bullshit we're doing. Give it time. There's a reason things are being done in the way that they are.

Generic characters... That's another thing that comes with time. Again, this comic just got a revival and we're working through it. (also id like to beg to differ that my character has acted like his character description from the get go but thats just me being nitpicky)

In regards to the solutions:

A complete overhaul and starting from scratch, imo, is out of the question. We're taking steps to rectify some of the problems of the early pages, but starting from scratch, especially at this point in the game, would be stupid considering how much work and planning would be down the drain just to have to start over to redo EVERYTHING.

Context is coming. Brawl has literally been setting that up since the Kaizen vs. Quirby Epilogue.

Introductions are different, and that will come over time. Four of the characters from the original tournament bracket are still in said bracket, and that plotline needs to be resolved and addressed before those characters can get proper characterization.

Visual styles more consistent. LOL. I am partially convinced that even after all these years you still don't know what an author comic is. Like... how long have you been doing this and how many times have you said that line and how many times have people actually listened to you? Bro it's an author comic. The visual style becoming the same between all of us is bland and boring. Yeah, I can see where it'd be somewhat distracting but the different style of each comic essentially acts as a watermark as to who's responsible for making what. You think I want someone to see my page I spent 8+ hours on and have them not know who made it? hell no. Having distinct visual styles is fine, and I don't understand why you complain about it in every author comic because it's never going to change and it's always just you saying "i dont like it."

Also no, I refuse to get rid of autoplay music. If there's autoplay music on my page, that means it's meant to be read with that music playing. Your browser probably has a mute button somewhere.

"Strongly urge"

Dude most of what you've said either doesn't apply here, won't work with what we're establishing, or is already being worked on. I appreciate you want us to succeed but a complete comic reboot isn't happening. If that's the only way you see a comic succeeding then damn, that is truly unfortunate.

I appreciate you taking the time to read the comic and give this review but I disagree with pretty much everything you've said.
Hey there, @Ultizeta! Thanks for reviewing my comic.
First off, yes, I am the original creator (sorry for the confusion). I also see your confusion with certain uncredited authors, as well as the different art styles.
To put it in Layman’s terms: I goofed up at the beginning. When the comic first began, there were much more flaws than listed here, namely, with how authors created comics, who they were paired with, and how much time they had to complete each comic. There was no time to explain who the characters were, and authors seemingly forgot to make comics. Eventually the comic slowed to a halt, and people, including myself, forgot about it until August, when I remade the rules, plot, and general scope of the comic. Was it a bad idea to abandon the comic for that long? Absolutely. But now that I’m back, I’m working to make it better. As for why some authors are not present, a portion of the original cast either left the comic, left SmackJeeves entirely, or became very inactive to the point of no contact. There’s nothing I can do about that, but if it would make it easier to understand which characters belong to who, I can work on that.
Now then, I absolutely agree with adding context to the older pages. I was actually planning to remake the first pages so that characters could be understood more and explained. I don’t plan to do this until the first section is complete, but plans may change.
If there’s anything else you would like me to add, please let me know. Thank you again for reviewing the comic! I'm sorry for your dissatisfaction with the format. Hopefully I can change it for the next time you see me ;D
EDIT: also i completely missed the music thing at the end, imma go get that fixed
I thought you said your reviews would slow down.
You sly dog, you.
lol, makes me want to try that genre. If I were to write one I'd probably just use a ton of OC's from my Universe.
@Pokemon Fun and Craziness: For good text placement in-panel, the best way to do it for most sprite comics is to leave about two-thirds of the panel "empty". As in, the lowest third of the comic is where you place characters, and the rest is just background material. That way, you're free to cover up as much of the background as you need to with text bubbles.

It doesn't necessarily NEED to be done that way, especially since with your comic, you're working with top-down sprites rather than sprites from a 2D sidescrolling game, however this is generally still the norm and will likely be easier in general than trying to mix it up. In your current set-up, you mainly have the characters in the center of a large area. This isn't necessarily wrong, but it's likely where you're having placement issues stem from. I recommend googling the "Rule of Thirds", which is a art/photography term that relates to ideal positioning and scene composition.

Don't be afraid to make the panels themselves a bit larger, either, if you find you're still running low on room. It's also worth paying attention to what is context-critical to show for each panel or scene. Like, for instance, once you showed one panel of the entirety of Wigglytuff's room in his guild, you wouldn't need to devote every single follow-up panel to maintaining all of that visual information. Zooming in would be effective because you could keep the focus on the characters instead, since readers would now know exactly where they were and what was in the room from the first panel.

Also, for good sprite editing, especially with THESE sprites, since there's very little detail in them, simplicity is definitely the best. Even changing just one or two pixels will likely be more sufficient than leaving the sprites the same. Plus, you could always look into alternative sprites. Regardless of if you continue using PMD backgrounds, you could try and find different sprites that might be easier to convey emotion with. I know that the Spriters' Resource has an extensive section of custom Pokemon sprites, and you could also choose from another spin-off series like Pokemon Ranger or Conquest to see if those might allow for a wider range of emotions or easier emotive edits for you to make.
Thanks for the review, especially for the constructive criticism. I know that this being my first (real) try at a comic with a good narrative doesn't excuse its faults, and I strive to improve from what it is now.

Up until now, I haven't even realized that the "mystery" elements I'm trying to convey are actually just confusing moments that lack context. I could say the obvious excuse of "it will be explained later", but I should try to explain more. The characters don't question enough of what they should, yet sometimes they focus too much on another thing.

However, the main problem that I don't know *how* to fix is the placement of the text. Since I am barely able to change how the sprites look due to how terrible I am at it, the character close-ups at the bottom give their only expressions of emotion. If I put the character close-ups and dialog all in one image, it becomes too crowded, even if I did increase the size. But if I don't, you still become disconnected from the visuals above by having to look down at the bottom. And since I lack the artistic ability to instead draw the comic, I have to pick one way to do something even if it it's the best.

Still, thank you for the review. Most of the feedback I get is completely positive which, though nice, doesn't help to improve the faults. After all, if you build a table that tilts but nobody ever tells you about that fault, you're just going to keep building tables that tilt.
Read Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Umbry the Thief here.

Updates for this are likely to become a tad more scarce than they have been. I'm working hard on a lot of other things, including my upcoming new comic, so it's tougher to find time to read comics and write a review. I'm not going to cancel this already, it's just going to have less frequent review updates than I've had in October and November.
November 30th, 2017
I read the first 20 pages or so last night and found them to be pretty enjoyable. I actually dig the writing style complete with typos because they are annoying in a funny way that makes you laugh. I did have a headache and I hadn't had any sleep due to being sick, so I haven't continued it yet.
November 29th, 2017
WOOOOOOO IM SO HAPPY TO SEE THIS REVIEWED AFTER HAVING IT FOR SO LONG... thank you again! I think one the problems it has like soul field, was that it's ~mysterious~ for the sake of being mysterious, and it comes off as really confusing, I think I said that on the last review. Anyway yeha my idea for having it reconstructed was making the pages larger, I've been wanting to double the page sizes to be 800x1000 and sort of condescending two pages into it. It would probably make it seem shorter but I might just do that and taking the advice of expanding on scenes and give em more purpose and time to settle.
And YEA THE INTERMISSIONS WERE THE PARTS I HATED LOOKING AT LOL. I don't know if I can destroy it as a whole, but like completely change it and have there be only one so far. And when this comic is reworked, I'll have the opportunity to differentiate the main three. I honestly hadn't noticed that they were similar! I've always thought of them as they were pre-amnesia, their personalities at the beginning were kinda blank and that they're slowly becoming who they were before. I'll make it more obvious oops. As for bonbon, she really does have purpose n stuff, but like I said before I keep trying to make thing overly mysterious and it's just confusing. ALSO for the whole, Everyoen in hot dagn is trans and gay in some way, you're darn right it's gotta be stated in canon, I'll find a way to bring it up naturally!!!
Not one of the points brought up in the review but the thing I'm worried about is when the world outside the mansion is introduced. Because you said it works well for what it is, mansion shenanigans and the characters in it. Like SPOILER but eventually that's gonna come into play and it's been leading up to that starting with the tv segment thing and hot actually being outside, hopefully I'll be able to shift things smoothly towards that part.
The changes I make won't be drastic, I'd really just like to expand on some scenes and merge to make larger pages and redraw/rewrite some stuff. Also keep how my old art looked cuz it's always fun to compare the first page with recent pages omg...
Now that I think about it, salvageable is too dramatic a word. I'm just either loving what I make or GOD THIS SUCKS WHOD EVEN LIKE THIS, ya know! I've really thought that if it was ever critiqued, it would've been torn down and all the time I spent on this thing would suddenly become invalid and everyone who read it would feel tricked or soemthing. I think I have a big flaw in my stories where things are just really incoherent at times. Like if a person were to analyze my work with the mindset of "Aha! The creator is trying to Tell us something!" they'd be like Wow this persons frickn random xD! IDK I started this comic when I was 14 and tired and never though ppl would think much of it. But the comic rly makes me happy overall! And I'm always SO excited for the things that will happen in its future and OH MY GOD THAT DOG.

This is a big weird pile of text and this point I'm rambling oops. But YEAH thank you so much!!! I'm glad u enjoyed some of it! I'm gonna make this thing better
Also that's ok u can keep the link, people can look at what it is now before it changes.
November 29th, 2017
Read the under-construction Hot Dagn here, though due to how Slitherhen is trying to discourage that for the time being, if they ask I'll remove this link.