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Broken: The Review

PostPosted: August 11th, 2016, 1:43 pm
by The_Hankerchief
This is a review of broken, by Yubria. At the time of this posting, it has 189 pages. Read it here!

*Scoring Criteria*
There's a total of 30 points available, broken down into six segments worth 5 points each: plot, characters, art, paneling/page organization, website customization, and setting. 1/5 means a section is lacking or in need of improvement, 5/5 means perfect in every way. An asterisk "*/5" denotes a section that I cannot grade for some reason, if so, that category and its total point value will be removed. A :idea: means I'm offering advice on how to improve a section.

broken is a story about Lasardhi, a nation (or world) of fae that has been invaded by a Lovecraftian-esque plague which corrupts any living thing it touches. In order to safely fight it, the local military augments their army with a bunch of reanimated soldiers, brought back to "life" via necromancy. One construct in particular, controlled and led by Senior General Huvrye Turvio, just might be more than meets the eye....

Beware! There be spoilers in the deeps below...

First Impression: Okay, they decide to fight fire with fire, only instead of fire, they're fighting a corrupting plague, and they're using their own plague to fight it. Interesting!

-Plot:It's a little early in the story to pass judgement (see paneling/page organization for my comments regarding that), but it's perplexing enough to keep my attention thus far. Especially once you get down towards where the story's current page is. I'm eager to see where this goes.

While the pacing is a little slow, the storytelling is fantastic. Most novices to writing webcomics tend to get the story rolling by using massive walls of text and dialog within the first 30 pages or so, as if they wrote out a novel, laid out the transcript to a couple of different illustrations, and called it good. What those people fail to realize is that webcomics, and comics as a media form in general, have more in common with movies and cinema rather than books, despite both comics and books being forms of print. Comics are a form of media that require the author to show rather than tell, as if they took their story, made it into a movie, and laid it out into a series of pages. Readers can tell a well-developed comic from a beginner comic just based on the amount of narration required to get the ball rolling, and this comic definitely falls into the former category. broken has the show/tell story-moving ratio down to a science. This comic is light on the dialog, but every page communicates a great deal of detail, even the ones that don't have any dialog at all.

I only have one gripe with the pacing of the story, but I feel that's best saved for the paneling/page organization category.

Score: 4/5

-Characters: There's not many recurring characters at this point; just Huvrye, his construct, Adan; a Field Marshal (the rank structure is not yet known, but I'm thinking she outranks Huvrye), and the yet-to-be-seen Effiom (whom I'm led to believe outranks them both). There's plenty of other characters but these are the only ones we've seen or mentioned regularly. The story seems to focus largely on Huvrye and his construct, and while we're slowly finding out what his construct might be, we do know Huvrye is a war hero who has moderately reasonable success fighting the Corruption, despite habitually not wearing the protective gear that the other soldiers in the field wear (for all the good it does them).

It's still pretty early to pass a solid judgement, but I feel the author is doing a good job thus far. As previously mentioned, I'm eager to see more.

Score: 4/5

-Art: It's fantastic. The sketchy style that the artist uses works really well with the overall theme of the comic, and appears to be right at home. It's very well drawn, and the only glaring thing I've noticed was on page 20, where the Jeep is going into the garage (the way it's drawn, it looks like the Jeep is going up the ramp into the garage at an angle, rather than straight on, and it just to me.). However, that was one of the very early pages, and since I've seen no other glaring errors in proportion, sizing or perspective, I won't hold this against it.

Score: 5/5

-Paneling/Page Distribution:If the comic has one weakness, it is here. I love how the panels are done; the detail and the art are fantastic. One problem though: most, if not all the panels, are only one page. While there's no problem with single panels themselves, too much of a thing can be a bad thing. While this may just come down to artists' preference, I feel this hurts the comic, solely because it makes the pacing of the story go rather slow. On a print comic,where all you have to do is turn the page, this is negligible, but when you're on the internet and you have to click to the next page and wait for it to load before you can resume reading, this can get tedious, and a little bit annoying. This is the one major complaint I have with the comic-it's almost two hundred pages in, and we're only just now getting into the nitty-gritty of the plot.

Single pages have their uses--they're great when you want to introduce an important plot point, or cram a bunch of pertinent information into something you can present to the reader into one convenient package, but they shouldn't be used for every single page. That gets pretty tedious in a hurry.

:idea: Even if you shift to a two-panel format, that would significantly improve the flow of the story and make it a little quicker to move the plot along. That might make it a little easier for your readers to thumb through and remain engaged.

Score: 2/5

-Setting:While we haven't learned much about it in itself, we certainly have learned just how messed up the situation is in Lasardhi, and the author did a good job of making us see that. However, it's still early, and I'd like to see where the author takes this.

Score: 3/5

-Website Customization: It's tailored specifically for the comic, yet it's simple. Navigation buttons, archive, links to the home page and the comic's Tumblr, Twitter, Patreon and Instagram pages, a comments section,and an about page. It's pretty well done; everything you need, wrapped up in a clean design with no extra fluff, with a theme that matches the comic well. I heartily approve.

Score: 5/5

Overall Score: 23/30

For being in its early stages, this is really well done. Other than the single-panel issue, you won't find a single gripe from me about this comic. I'm eager to see what becomes of Huvrye's construct, and how it impacts the ongoing war. Personally, I feel the request for a review was a little premature, in that I'd've liked to see this comic proceed a little further along in it's story, in order to be able to delve a little deeper into it and give a more thorough review, but from where it's at now, it's doing fantastic. I'd like to see this get another review another two chapters in, when it's really had time to blossom.

The 'chief has spoken!

(Edited for typos)

Re: Broken: The Review

PostPosted: August 15th, 2016, 4:15 pm
by Yubria
Thank you for the review! I know the story is still in its earlier stage, but I wanted to get an outside opinion on how things are working out so far. This really helps!

Re: Broken: The Review

PostPosted: August 26th, 2016, 12:59 pm
by The_Hankerchief
Yubria wrote:Thank you for the review! I know the story is still in its earlier stage, but I wanted to get an outside opinion on how things are working out so far. This really helps!

Good deal! I hope it does, and like I said, I'd eventually like to see a re-review later on down the line, even if I have to do it.