GATEKEEPER Review

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GATEKEEPER Review

Postby K-cho » April 6th, 2014, 11:17 am

Today I will be reviewing GATEKEEPER by boxno, which has 148 pages at the moment.

GATEKEEPER is about Olivia, a quiet and awkward girl who gets a position as an intern to Jack Porter, an eccentric criminal psychologist. However, she soon discovers that her new boss is actually a “Gatekeeper”, who helps cover up the crimes of his clients.

Story and Characters

So far, GATEKEEPER seems to be set up to be a serious of episodic stories, though there are also suggestions that a larger plot is being set up for future chapters. Personally, I enjoyed the story, and a lot of the plot twists caught me by surprise. While there were some things that confused me, they were all confusing in the “this is a mystery that will be addressed later on” way, not the “this is a badly written story” way.

Olivia and Jack both have personalities that are a little unusual for main characters. Olivia’s meek personality and lack of confidence both make her an interesting protagonist, and make it easy to see how she could be drawn to Jack and her new job despite her misgivings. I found Jack both very likeable and very suspicious, so I’m really curious to see what new things will be revealed about him, and how Olivia’s relationship with him will develop as the comic continues.

One issue that I had as I was reading this comic relates to the premise of Jack’s Gatekeeper job. The idea that some people have enough value to society that it’s better if they avoid being punished for crimes is interesting, but it also means that Jack and Olivia are aiding criminals, which often seems to involve committing even more crimes, including murder. I think the potential immorality of this is acknowledged in the comic, but it still made it hard for me to really get behind the characters and support them. (Though again, boxno can correct me if I'm wrong, but I had the feeling that Jack in particular is not supposed to be a character that we root for.) In addition, I felt like at some points Olivia adapted a little too easily to the reality of her new job – even for someone who’s desperate for a chance to succeed for once in her life, the kind of work she’s doing with Jack would still be extremely difficult for a normal person to be okay with.

The immoral and criminal nature of Jack and Olivia’s work isn’t really a flaw, especially in a psychological drama like this, just something I’d like to see explored more as the comic goes on. (Actually, I just went back to see if GATEKEEPER had updated since the time I first read it a little while ago, and was pleased to see that Olivia has more serious misgivings about her job in recent pages.)

Just as a side note, this story also incorporates lots of concepts related to abnormal psychology, which run the risk of being a little overly simplified in some instances (just my opinion, though, and it’s not really a big deal), but mostly add some interesting touches to the story!

Art

Gatekeeper has a manga-influenced art style, and the art is better quality than that of many comics I’ve seen on Smack Jeeves. Boxno uses screentones in a way that looks very professional, and there is good variety in terms of the angles and poses used. The anatomy is pretty good. (Because I’m not good at anatomy, I don’t feel like I can give very good advice there, but maybe someone else will be able to help if you’d like advice about that, boxno? One thing I did notice is that occasionally characters’ facial features are positioned on their faces slightly strangely, especially characters with more simplified faces like Olivia.) The backgrounds that aren’t screentone sometimes looked a little too empty or simple to me, though that’s another thing that seems to be improving as the comic goes on.

By the way, this is a fairly little thing, but showing the chapter art again in black and white after the first few pages of each chapter didn’t really add anything for me. Maybe something like that would work in a published (paper) comic, but when I was reading Gatekeeper online, it was just something that I wanted to click through quickly to get to the actual comic. (The colored versions of the chapter art look great, though.)

Conclusions

Overall, Gatekeeper is a very promising comic with an intriguing and dramatic story, interesting characters, and good art. I’d definitely recommend it, especially for people who like blood, mysteries, and stories with morally ambiguous protagonists. I’m glad that I got the chance to read it thanks to boxno’s review request, and I’m likely to keep up with it in the future!
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K-cho
 
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Re: GATEKEEPER Review

Postby boxno » April 8th, 2014, 2:00 pm

Hi K-Cho.

Thank you so much for taking the time to review my comic! I'm really glad that you enjoyed it and would recommend it to others!

So to follow up on some of the points you touched on:

- The premise behind Gatekeepers does seem a little shaky - especially Jack's schpiel about societal value. It's supposed to leave Olivia, and the audience, deep in thought about whether what Jack says actually makes sense. As the story moves on, Olivia quickly sees that what Gatekeepers do - what Jack does - is wrong and that she's been naive. In the latest pages, as you've seen, she truly regrets her decision. Of course, that makes you question whether Jack even believed what he espoused, or if he's being manipulative. I can't say for certain whether the audience is supposed to root for him or not. ;)

- I'll keep in mind what you said about the backgrounds and facial features! Sometimes I don't notice myself.

- As for the chapter art showing up again - sometimes I use is as a transition between scenes but there other times where I just use it for consistency with past chapters. I'll be more prudent about that XD

Again thanks so much for reviewing me! I think that all the things you've said has been very valid and will help me improve! <3
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Re: GATEKEEPER Review

Postby K-cho » April 13th, 2014, 9:51 am

You're welcome! I'm glad my review was helpful.

And yeah, the issues with the morality/logic of Jack's job aren't even necessarily flaws, at least as long as it's acknowledged within the comic that those issues are there. (Which you're doing. :D)
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