Hi everyone. It’s been a hell of a week, both in the comics community and out. So no lapidary intro this week. I hope you are all well and if not, things are on the horizon to get you there. We’ve had a bit of a light week, with the most recent episodes of “Dr. Frost” and newcomer “Legends of Silica.” Catch you all on the flip side of The Webcomics Weekly.
‘Blind spots’ (4) – (6)
By Jongbeom Lee
Reviewed by Elias Rosner
Well, we did it folks. We’ve completely caught up with “Dr. Frost,” or at least the episodes available for free. It’s a weird place because, well, “Blind Spots” isn’t finished and “Dr. Frost” seems to have a long time before it ends. The feeling that the end is imminent hasn’t diminished, but I see more avenues for the series to explore before it gets there than before. I’m buzzing with excitement about these potential storylines but I should come back to the episodes I’m here to rewatch.
The actual events of these three episodes are pretty straightforward. Frost has gone missing again, and Changgyu, the reporter, is trying to find his former mentor Yonghui Cho. I found the first one to be the meatiest part of the lot, mostly because I like the drama between the characters as they all react to Frost’s decision. I also like how it is capped off by the conversation between him and Seonga which acted as the cliffhanger of the last batch. It shows how much they have learned to trust each other.
It’s hard to underestimate how good Lee is at framing. Its angles and panels aren’t particularly ambitious, but throughout this season, and especially in “Blind Spots”, they’ve been very effective and clear. His use of close-up and extreme close-up is particularly noteworthy. Using too many face panels can make a comic feel claustrophobic and placeless. Too little and things are remote and low energy. The same goes for aspect shots, such as a hand, an eye, a mouth, to convey minor reactions that have major ramifications. Lee makes sure his framing serves the mood of the story and conveys the appropriate emotion or relevant plot details, but it never feels rote.
Instead, it brings life and momentum to the narrative. He knows when to conceal a reaction and when to reveal it. When to partially hide a detail and when to bring it to the fore. These are all great things and in a chapter where Frost is potentially going to face Mun and Changgyu being drawn into some serious shit via his business, that kind of control is needed to build the tension, excitement and desire to read more than I felt at the end of ‘Blind Zones’ (6). I hope they can make it out of this arc alive. Next time just two episodes but hoo boy will they be interesting.
By Brian Edward Miller
Reviewed by Michael Mazzzacane
“Legends of Silica” has a lot going for it, like a delightful pun name and wonderful art from Brian Edward Miller, who also wrote the series. Their artistry helps sell the voice coming from his writing and quite solid comedy work. It all looks like a unified work of art. And yet, I wouldn’t really call it a good webtoon. The “silica” bands are too short, what was covered in three could have been combined into a single band of about normal length. While there is generally effective use of scale and vertical imagery at the top and bottom of the strips, the middle is Swiss cheese with the size of the gutters between the boring square panels. The content of these panels is well done, everything is done in a way that does not rely on the strengths of a vertical webcomic.
Although the episodes may be short, there is a comic book efficiency to drive the narrative forward. The first episode clearly lays out the central dilemma for our protagonists Amory and Pearson: they’re kicked out! What follows is a conversation about why they are being kicked out and the misadventure that led to them being kicked out in the first place. As scenes, the writing is solid, but it all comes back to how these strips are crafted; it just lacks verve.
Amory and Pearson read as alive through Miller’s artistry, the two-man comedy routine he works with is engaging and effective. Amory is the fast-talking type. Pearson is the biggest hetero of the group.
The individual elements of this strip should have me singing its praises from the heights of the internet mountains and yet, I am giving it here a mixed review at best. I want more, but not because I’m satisfied and hooked, but because I’m not fulfilled. This tape could turn into something but with the rhythm of the tapes it will be a long time before it becomes obvious.