Webcomics Weekly is back in your life for the first time in 2022. So far so good. This week, we’re taking a walk in the clouds with “Cloud Walker” and watching all of the “Little Tiny Things.” In addition to the continuing cover of “Lavender Jack” which takes a sudden turn into iron harvest territory.
Updates on Thursdays
Reviewed by Mel Lake
The setup of “Cloud Walker” is the same basic setup as many other action stories: demons run rampant in the city, and the only people who can stop them have superpowers and work for a mysterious secret agency. In this one, the demons are called Arais, and the humans working to stop them are Cloud Walkers. The details almost don’t even matter at this point because the audience is there for the action and the cool characters. “Cloud Walker” delivers on both accounts.
From the very first episode, we’re thrown into the action, following a group of humans battling a demon girl who looks like she’s been stitched up and uses her own blood to summon little flying fish to fight for her. This description doesn’t sound half as cool as it looks. The little demon-summoned fish that dominates the first four episodes look surreal and almost anime-cute, but they’re deadly little blood-summoned creatures. This juxtaposition of cute anime-ish art and horror-tinged action would look right at home on the pages of Shonen Jump or in a Netflix anime series. The character designs are also influenced by the anime, with brightly colored hair and the type of expressions you’d see in a manga.
All of this gives readers a very clear idea of what to expect as the story progresses, and Kariyeen doesn’t waste much time getting into the protagonist’s awakening powers. That’s hardly a spoiler, as we know that mild-mannered Kai Wattana won’t be just a lowly waiter for the duration of the comic. He’s clearly special, and when his powers are revealed in the fourth episode, it’s with the kind of dramatic flair (not to mention impressive artwork) you’d expect from a protagonist. Kai reminds me of Ichigo from the long-running “Bleach” series, and he even has pink-orange hair like him. Four episodes isn’t enough to really get into its backstory, but the pacing of those four episodes is an impressive mix of character work and backstory just enough to make up for the action sequences.
The action sequences are where this series excels, however. The artwork has a cinematic feel that I don’t feel like I see very often in webcomics. It’s much more like a manga, where you can practically see how each panel would animate and move on to the next. I’ve used the word “awesome” before in this review, but kariyeen’s mastery of movement and drawing from different camera angles to show movement is truly impressive. The coloring also deserves a mention, with just enough color to differentiate the characters and not so much that it overwhelms the panels or becomes too much work for the artist to keep up with.
“Cloud Walker” may not break new ground in terms of story, but it’s executed so well that fans of action horror manga like “Bleach”, “D. Gray-Man” or “Claymore “will feel at home reading it.
By Dan Schkade (writing and art), Jenn Manley Lee (color)
Reviewed by Michael Mazzzacane
Abusing drugs to cope with the trauma of being an unwitting cog in the military-industrial complex that disrupts your life’s work is a common dramatic trope and probably something close to reality. It’s a serious subject and Schkade and Lee treat it seriously. They also get a fantastic, visual and dialogic comedy, out of the state that Doctor Sampat is in. From the only liner on the gun. Crabb’s reaction to the bombardment of Sampat. The name derives from the acronym Ministry of War. It’s not that these moments override the seriousness of the moment or make them lighthearted, but they’re just sprinkled in a deft way. It puts the reader in a state of complacency until Sampat suddenly reacts with pure terror in his eyes as Crabb and Ferrier start asking questions about Abacus Ma and it sells the ‘why’ of his current state even more. . The eye comic is a good example of great basic storytelling through comics, with some help from Lee with the sickly green whole thing in the environment. The base color is also Sampat’s eye color.
And then everything turns into iron harvest and we see that Lavender Jack has either been turned into a populist Gallery symbol or more accurately turned into a propaganda symbol for Gallery. The current war in the series is technically I mean WW2 alternate history, but there is a WW1 style to the camps. Either way, Schakde makes good use of vertical scrolling to give a sense of height to the various Mechas that make up the artillery in this war. That sense of verticality runs through this entire sequence and helps reinforce Duck’s Uncle’s class critique after Mimley leaves and plays the hero.
Meanwhile, the meaning of an atomic bomb super weapon is uncovered by Crabb and Ferrier along with our first clear images of evil-Lavender Jack. Schkade taps into lookalike sensibilities by making this iteration sleek curves and a new distressed material. It’s refined but classless. The final shot Jack gives Crabb blows the tape to the bottom and continues a recent trend of using large, somewhat surreal images to serve as scene-to-scene transitions instead of simpler, rougher cuts. .
Tiny little things
Pages 20 to 26
Updates: Tuesdays and Thursdays
Reviewed by Elias Rosner
Have you ever found yourself walking when suddenly an insect on a leaf or a noise in the distance triggers an overwhelming flood of sensations? Or, when someone says something in particular, it pulls a seemingly insignificant little moment from your past and brings it to the forefront of your mind? It could be anything but now it’s here, with new meaning and new life. That’s the feeling that “Little Tiny Things” conveys when it opens, but especially here from pages 20-26.
Primarily black and white, with occasional subdued pastel touches and pages built horizontally rather than vertically, the world of “LTT” is open and expansive from the start. The wider page allows for a greater range of detail per panel without feeling cramped and for those wonderful pages where they draw parallels between past and present. Their characters are lanky and expressive, moving through the world with exaggerated movements on one page and then deliberate, small steps on another. It’s a quiet story when it wants it and loud when it needs it and it all feels painfully, lovingly human.
The story of “LTT” has not yet started and that’s good. It’s great, even. When done right, 26 pages of directing and character building is the best way to set the mood for a story like this. Hell I say it hasn’t kicked off but we’ve already had our first major character interaction, an establishment of the status quo (and how that’s a change for our main character) and a very emotional scene featuring a moth that represents the past and the ocean. Can I also brag about how Clover used sound effects to visually represent the approach to the sea at night? What a good comic!
“Little Tiny Things” has already landed in my “must reads” every week (even on Clover’s other two comics, “Go Get a Roommate” and “Headless Bliss”.) It’s the perfect way to start. the year and I will, I suspect, be the perfect way to spend all of 2022.