Not really a concise intro from me this week as I’m tired writing this and ready to SLEEP. But you know what doesn’t sleep? These comics. We have a “traveler” who finds what he needs from “Dr. Frost” in order to introduce himself to “Señorita Cometa”.
You’ll find all that and a picture of a goldfish in this week’s issue of The Webcomics Weekly.
“A Fox Hole” (5) – (8)
By Jongbeom Lee
Reviewed by Elias Rosner
After the strange drop in translation quality during the first four episodes of “A Fox Hole,” things seem to have settled back into what we’ve come to know and love from “Dr. Frost.” Not only do we have a new character that I love, The Chief, but things are starting to heat up with YSP – the organization that has been called YPSA, YSPS and a few other acronyms in the series thus far. Manny infiltrated the group unbeknownst to Frost & Seonga, who created this wonderful (and tense) tongue-in-cheek distance, and then a series of absolutely chilling scenes after Frost figured it out.
What I love most about this scene, and the next with Frost & The Chief, is that Lee balances the lackluster flavor of what Frost is about to do – deprogram a YSP member – with the terror he (and we) feel for Manny’s safety. You can feel your gut tightening, full of worry that it will come back to bite Frost & co, knowing it may be necessary but it’s not right. The sluggishness of the early chapters is gone and things will only get faster from here.
From a meta point of view, I’m sad that Seonga can’t show off his strengths like was set up in “A Fox Hole” (5). It makes sense and increases the drama to have Frost in reverse due to new information, but it’s still sad for someone who was hoping to see a more active role from her during these proceedings. You know a character that I’m glad not to see? That asshole Moon. At this point, we’re still far enough away from Moon for him to act as an ever-present but ghost-like antagonist; the puppeteer who we know is dangerous first-hand but who doesn’t need to show up for the monologue every other chapter.
But who knows? Maybe he’ll be back at the end of “A Fox Hole” when it all hits the fan. As we get closer and closer to the currently released chapters, my ability to assess these things diminishes. It’s exciting! It’s also terrifying. An apt description this season of “Dr. Frost.”
Written by Archan & Elmanchi
Illustrated by Archan
Assisted by Elmanchi
Edited by Eunice Baik
Reviewed by Michael Mazzzacane
I am a simple person. The pitch of “Señorita Cometa” seemed quite simple: a nice (wo) thief vigilante fights against the corrupt system of Yoalco. And overall that’s what ‘Luff’ and ‘Faust’ creator Archan and Elmanchi created, but it’s also more of a focus on dealing with women, the everyday sexism that happens to violence. This emphasis is not revealed at first glance, it only appeared in the second episode, but explains a choice made in the first.
Lettering is an underrated aspect of comics, without them what would the writer really do? Slight tweaks in font choices, placement of word bubbles, all affect the “voice” of the comic as well as the words that are spelled. Early on, as Alex infiltrates a club, she overhears a patron talking to our prime suspect about the “little bitch you drag around”, note the violence involved in the choice of verb. A few panels later, however, the lettering makes a conscious decision to censor the rendering words “Dumb*ss” and “F*cking”. This censorship is illusory, the reader can still understand what is being said. The choice not to do that with “bitch” is a choice that makes it pedestrian, the realm of the common, it stands out for the reader but in the world of comics it doesn’t. Which, in turn, reflects on the reader just how misogynistic culture actually works, and perhaps isn’t too far off from this neon-drenched comic. With these choices alone, I’m already hooked for at least 30 episodes.
Archan’s visual storytelling didn’t need to be this good, and yet it’s going to get the hook in me for the upcoming series. They give “Señorita Cometa” a strange but appealing aesthetic blend of 70s anime, with a hint of shojo manga, and from my point of view the cult anime series Cybersix. Cybersix also featured a gender-bending robber leader with a best friend/cop partner in a South American setting. There are a lot of different angles and yet the action storytelling just works. The majority of the first episode involves Alex’s escape from a part that sees Archan leaning into the vertical nature of webtoon strips using the act of scrolling to change perspective and contain multiple images in one to follow a chase in stairs. While we haven’t seen what their hand-to-hand combat choreography looks like, if you’re a “Lavender Jack” fan, the action in this first issue is worth checking out.
At the center of it all is Alex who works in IT for the police department and, due to the mistreatment of his friends and his curiosity, discovers how to start making a difference outside of the law. There is a just expressive joy, a little naive, in this charming character. The writer also quickly begins to draw the boundaries of vigilantism — like how much of what they do results in inadmissible evidence — in a way similar genre pieces never bother.
“Señorita Cometa” promises to be full of promise in this first trio of episodes. None of the tapes seem unfinished or poorly paced, if they continue like this it could really turn into something.
Updates on Sundays
Written by T Campbell
Illustrated by John & Jason Waltrip
Reviewed by Mel Lake
Trevor Carr is in space, mind-blowing. Then he is back on earth, experiencing strange glitches in reality. “Traveler” hides a lot of mystery in its first five episodes and doesn’t explain much, but the trippy first chapter made me curious to see what was behind the creepy door, or rather, the books of spooky library.
After the first episode, we join Trevor in his normal life, where things are normal… for the most part. Except when he encounters unexplained glitches that involve other people but seem to resolve themselves without anyone noticing but him. When he returns to his girlfriend after one of these episodes, she realizes that he seems to have lost weight but that’s all. They talk, and she brings up the fact that his only noticeable income is from a YouTube-like channel where he and his best friend talk about a recently rebooted cartoon franchise years ago that’s basically a parody of “GI Joe”. How this relates to Strange Occurrences or Space Adventures is unclear.
The Stranger Things Trevor went through and his initial chapter Lost in Space was intriguing, but his relationship with Lizzie totally fell apart for me. Her character felt like it came straight out of a box of “stock girlfriend” tropes, so I honestly scrolled through their interactions. But once the narrative went back into space and it slid, I picked up and found the situation quite intriguing. The artwork also looks much better when it focuses on objects other than the human characters. They’re about as noticeable and expressive as a weekly newspaper, which seems like an intentional choice, but it’s hard to take the dynamics of the relationship seriously.
“Traveler” may be worth checking out if it gets back to the action quickly enough and doesn’t dwell on the relationship drama between Trevor and his girlfriend. This aspect of the comics is dangerously close to nagging girlfriend sexist territory, and it would be a shame to turn Tevor, who is such a milquetoast character to begin with, into a superhero while making his girlfriend a stereotype. But the first episode’s floating books and spooky space vibes promise something more, so we’ll have to get past that initial exposition bump to find out if future episodes of “Traveler” deliver the goods.