Rended Review

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Rended Review

Postby Viival » February 6th, 2015, 12:25 am

Plot Description
Taki, a young man and the main character, unhappy with his treatment in his home village, leaves one night for a nearby city, Riverport. In the dangerous forest between, he meets a bounty hunter, Kazrin, who tells him about a sort of magic plaugue that is affecting their world and gets him safely to Riverport, where Taki seems to begin a new life.

Webcomic Description
The story of a god split in two

Banner Link
Image

Art

Overall, the art in this is pretty damn good, but while the lineart and anatomy are very nice, backgrounds need some work. Since it's been ongoing for quite some time now, the art's improved dramatically over the course of the comic, especially in anatomy and facial expression (and btw- I love the facial expressions), which is always nice to see. Since the latest and earlier pages are so different, I'll try to focus more on the more recent pages, but really, there's very little wrong with the drawings.

He draws with mostly pure black and white heavily weighted lines and few shadows. They're pretty detailed, and it looks neat and proffessional. I like it, though I do find the lack of shadows (though not so much on the background- more on the characters) a bit strange looking, as having no shadow makes figures look more two dimensional, and it's hard to tell how dark a scene is supposed to be. Real minor complaints, though. The three chapter covers (and the banner, obviously) are colored, and they're impressive. He can color- though it's only on three pages, haha.

Anatomy is good. Rarely, though, characters are drawn with larger heads and more squat bodies than usual. Again, it doesn't happen often, but the anatomy is different in a couple of panels. It looks like it's worse usually when the the panel is zoomed out and and entire body is shown. For example,
even without counting how many heads tall she is in each one, the woman is drawn differently in this page:
http://rended.smackjeeves.com/comics/1962800/ii-02/
versus this page:
http://rended.smackjeeves.com/comics/2016754/ii-04/
There are less obvious examples in a few other pages. Couple other slipups, too. Sometimes faces are wonked. Should pay a bit more attention sometimes, I suppose.

As I'd mentioned before, backgrounds are the weakest part of the comic's art. They don't suck. They're just not as well drawn as the characters are.

Here's just one that bothered me. Usually perspective is better done:
http://rended.smackjeeves.com/comics/1888409/ii-01/
The floor looks distorted because its lines don't really go to a single vanishing point, and if you follow the back wall's bottom line across the page, you can see how it does not line up with the other room's back wall, making it look as if the floor rises sharply in the back.

Riverport's land plots were interesting

Corridors have been drawn for backgrounds pretty often recently. Though there's a vanishing point and perspective and such, they're very stretched out. Here's one that looks good, actually:
http://rended.smackjeeves.com/comics/1827657/i-44/
Yet in the pages that follow, doors are drawn thick and few in number. Either shorten the hall or draw more doors, but now it just looks... interesting. Trippy.

Buildings Buildings.
They're extremely rectangular. Save for one (and that one just had a triangle atop), every building shown in this comic has been a perfect rectangular prism. While I can see that some detail has been added to the building, none of it is three - dimensional. As a result, the houses look unrealistic and flat. Even a simple Google image search for 'houses' will show no square ones. Instead of drawing flat texture or flat windows or flat doors onto the buildings, try using 3D shapes- many times, for example, the door will be on a different plane from the frontmost wall of the house, or the upper story will be smaller than the first, or roofs will be slanted. Not only will it be more realistic (pretty much nowhere in history will you find cube houses- save for the one or two I see from time to time which make me wonder who exactly got paid to design those), they'll also look better. Backgrounds should be pretty, I think. It's a comic. Make it look better than life.

As for things like rivers or cliffs or caves, they just aren't so realistic as would look best. I suggest looking at photo examples.

I thought the speech bubbles and font looked good, the paneling is nice and I appreciate how the paneling and point of view get done pretty creatively from time to time- it looks great, and doesn't interfere with the flow of the comic. It was very easy to read, by the way. Panels were never confusing and such.

The site design is lovely, though the little box for scrolling though pages below the previous / next arrows does not work (at least for me- someone confirm?).

the way you draw dreadlocks is very pretty

Story

I thought the story was good! It's presented well (though not so much in the beginning), I liked the characters, and the dialouge is really very well written, even making me laugh out loud in a few places. The comic does not actually start with Taki leaving home but rather with a short prolouge, a story about a goddess and humans and such. The prologue's significance has yet to be introduced into the actual sequence of events in the story. While it does make me interested about what is to come, that coupled with just what has been told makes me feel the story has just begun and that there is much more to it that just hasn't been shown yet, and all that the story has covered so far is exposition. This isn't a bad thing, of course, the comic's just short and I don't know if any later plot developments will change anything. Also, story is pretty subjective; I suggest getting more than just my opinion (for art, too) - my opinion is definitedly not shared by eveyone, and they might point out something I've missed- I know I'm bad at finding plot holes, for one.

If your comic is sixty-some pages and its description has yet to be explained, perhaps you should change the description. If my guess is correct, it might even also be a spoiler.

I thought the beginning of the comic jumped into the story way too quickly. It would have done better starting several pages before and letting us better get to know Taki's situation in his village, or even after, being introduced as a memory. I did see you say you were planning to redraw the first chapter and, if you wanted to, I think it would be a good idea to expand on the first part of the story. The art would look great, too, and if you are in fact doing that I look forward to seeing it. That's awesome.

anyways
I found the opening lines of dialouge and premise very cliche. This 'monster' boy of a different appearance being treated badly by narrow minded villagers idea has been done before... a lot. To be honest, I didn't find the rest of the comic to be too too unique either. Don't get me wrong, I liked the story later on, but I think this prevented me from enjoying the story as much as I could have. But it wasn't really that unoriginal, and much much more so in the beginning. My opinion. Story is subjective.

But the beginning... I'm sure most people would agree it's, well, bad. I actually remember seeing your comic before, reading a couple pages, deciding it sucked, and dropping it. I'm glad you asked for a review, because now I'm a fan, but I'm sure it has turned off more people than just me.

Like I said before, pacing is much better later on- it's very good now, actually. Many of the later plot developments I quite liked and kept me interested. Sorry if I'm redundant, but, again, the prolouge was interesting and I really do want to know what will happen next- -and I want to know what will happen with Taki's magic, and the recently introduced chraracters- which is a great thing in a story!

I noticed how consistent Taki is in his characterization- his stubborness, for example, is present in the story from the beginning. Kazrin acts differently before they get to Riverport, though. I say he breaks characterization for the sake of explaining some background to the plot. In the forest, he's almost friendly, helpful, and quite talkative, but once they reach the city he's suddenly pushing Taki away with few, gruff words and losing his temper every two seconds. He's changed too much in a short amount of time.

buuut I liked the story. I would give it a B+ if I was grading it. I would recommend it to people. I have recommended it to people. I recommend it to whoever's reading this. Go scroll up and click the banner.

Other

What is up with Kazrin's clothing? He's got a useless cape- that's got to be inconvienient- and he's go a piece of armour- a single piece- on one shoulder only- and it's not even a helpful piece, didn't protect him from that bite...

If the plauge can affect people and only cities with magic are safe, why haven't Taki's village's people been affected?

In Conclusion

Comic was good. Go read it.







ok.

That review took so so long for me to post. I agreed to it so long ago and WOW I'm late- you bumped the thread, even! oh god. And I'm sorry about not doing it in a reasonable amount of time, really sorry, and I just have no excuse besides just 'I worked on it really really slowly.'

I did read hogan29's post, though, and though I agree with most of it, I thought Taki's attachment to Kazrin was fine.
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Viival
 
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Re: Rended Review

Postby Spooks » February 9th, 2015, 8:06 pm

HEY WOW THANK YOU SO MUCH. No worries at all about it taking a bit! It was definitely worth the wait, thank you!

You addressed a lot of really helpful things here. It's always refreshing to get a new viewpoint, and I really appreciate that you brought up specific examples of things that need improving. That really helps me know what to focus on as I move forward!

I do find the lack of shadows (though not so much on the background- more on the characters) a bit strange looking, as having no shadow makes figures look more two dimensional, and it's hard to tell how dark a scene is supposed to be.

Shading is something I've been on the fence about since I went to black and white. I really like the look of flat comics, but conveying depth without shading can be really hard (which is half the appeal, I like the challenge). I'll have to try a little harder with that. :B

Buildings Buildings.

I am so bad at backgrounds thank you so much for all of your advice.

The site design is lovely, though the little box for scrolling though pages below the previous / next arrows does not work (at least for me- someone confirm?).

Not just you, it doesn't seem to be working for me either, whoops. I wonder how long that's been broken.


If your comic is sixty-some pages and its description has yet to be explained, perhaps you should change the description. If my guess is correct, it might even also be a spoiler.

I was actually debating about changing it the other day. I like the tagline, but it doesn't get explained for a long time. It is a spoiler, but I don't think anyone will correctly guess about what before it actually gets revealed.


I thought the beginning of the comic jumped into the story way too quickly. [...]I did see you say you were planning to redraw the first chapter and, if you wanted to, I think it would be a good idea to expand on the first part of the story.

I've already started redrafting the first chapter, though I can't say when it will actually be posted. It's changing so dramatically that I'll need to post the whole thing at once. Honestly, the entire first chapter is atrocious. It's a mess. But it was a necessary learning experience (or so I keep telling myself) and the rewrite is going to be immensely better. You're not the first person to recommend I expand on Taki's village life, either- I'm between opening with that and leaving it for a flashback later. Of course, Taki's the only character in Rended that is completely forthright and transparent, so it seems fitting that the reader should understand him and his background from the start.

Really, one of the issues with Rended is just how god-awfully long it is. It's barely started yet (I had to go through my script and cut irrelevant scenes just so I'm not drawing it for the rest of my life), and the first chapter sort of dragged on without doing a very good job of actually hooking the reader or setting up the story, while simultaneously dumping loads of [often useless] information that would have been better shown down the line.

I noticed how consistent Taki is in his characterization- his stubborness, for example, is present in the story from the beginning. Kazrin acts differently before they get to Riverport, though. I say he breaks characterization for the sake of explaining some background to the plot.

Yeah, you nailed that one. I struggled a lot with Kazrin's voice early on in Rended's life, which made his character really weird and unstable. It was straight up bad writing, haha.

buuut I liked the story. I would give it a B+ if I was grading it. I would recommend it to people.

Thank you so much!!

What is up with Kazrin's clothing? He's got a useless cape- that's got to be inconvienient- and he's go a piece of armour- a single piece- on one shoulder only- and it's not even a helpful piece, didn't protect him from that bite...

I don't know. I really don't. I ask myself that every time I reread it. There is no excuse.

If the plauge can affect people and only cities with magic are safe, why haven't Taki's village's people been affected?

THAT is actually plot related!

And once again, thank you SO much for writing such a fantastic review for me. I greatly appreciate it!
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Re: Rended Review

Postby Viival » February 13th, 2015, 9:39 pm

Spooks wrote:
If the plauge can affect people and only cities with magic are safe, why haven't Taki's village's people been affected?

THAT is actually plot related!


nice!

Spooks wrote: And once again, thank you SO much for writing such a fantastic review for me. I greatly appreciate it!


I'm so glad you found my review fair, and thanks for taking the time to respond!
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