The Webcomics Weekly is back in your life. This week, Elias goes house hunting with “The House of Lowther,” a gothic story that will have you wishing Matthew McFadden were there to tell you how bewitched you bewitched him. Meanwhile, these two “Lore Olympus” lovebirds continue to experience the inevitable, repeated trauma of courtship, romance, and existence within the framework of the Greek pantheon. In “Les Uniques”, it is finally time to form a team, a team of teenagers. A Teen Team, nobody’s ever done that before.
Episodes 1-2: “Welcome to Lowther’s House” – “Meet the Staff”
Reviewed by Elias Rosner
Shout out to Al at Comic Book Yeti for bringing this one to my attention. “The House of Lowther” is an old Patreon comic that is now serialized in webtoon format on, well, webtoon. It’s a gothic story, reminiscent of “Jane Eyre” in places and “Frankenstein” in others. Although the plot has only just begun, I think I can safely say we’re in for a treat with this one.
There is an air of mystery in “The House of Lowther” which is wonderfully cultivated by Smith’s paneling rhythm. It’s not overly spread out with large panels separated by long stretches of background effects nor crammed and mixed together. Instead, the panels unfold methodically as we, and the main character, learn more about Lowther’s mysterious home. And oh how mysterious.
A modern, Victorian Gothic housekeeper/maid story is interesting to read. Because these are genres that aren’t as ubiquitous anymore, there’s more freedom to play with old archetypes in new ways. This is, to me at least, simply because the situations feel classic rather than over the top. For example, the character being hidden from the protagonist by a more experienced and knowledgeable character for what appear to be sinister or shameful reasons. Or even the central feature of the housekeeper/servant story, that of a young woman getting a new job and learning to live in the world, although in the case of the former, the world is a strange big mansion /sanatorium/boarding house/ any hospitality job really.
KLynnSmith’s art takes a bit of getting used to, as most of the characters look like dolls or paintings by Margaret Keane. It’s a stylistic choice that I don’t like, but there’s nothing wrong with that and it doesn’t take anything away from comics. It will be interesting to see the contrast between Sawyer Ellis, who has the biggest eyes so far, and the other inhabitants of the House, including one we meet at the end of Episode 2.
This reunion may not be the triggering incident, but it’s definitely the crux of the story to come and on that reveal alone I’m hooked and excited to keep reading.
Updates on Sundays
By Rachel Smith
Reviewed by Mel Lake
What would my mother do? In episode 96, Persephone asks herself this question and comes back to an incident from her childhood where Demeter stands up to Zeus. This had dire consequences for the goddesses, but it proved to little Kore that her mother was not someone to play with. Now Persephone is finally able to speak out against Apollo, who switches between a pitiful insistence that he has feelings for Persephone and self-serving rants.
After the cartoon style of the last episodes, these seem more visually mature. Persephone and Apollo look like human adults, though oddly colored. In fact, Persephone here looks much older than usual in this strip, which is a welcome change for me. I’ve always looked a bit askance at the childish ways she sometimes draws because she’s also a very sensual character with a certain sex appeal. That said, when Persephone’s rage really kicks in and her eyes turn red, she does look downright weird sometimes. I also caught a few typos in these episodes, which hopefully will be fixed when the print version catches up with this part of the story.
Once Apollo is rushed by Cupid’s arrival, Persephone returns to Cupid, where she is confronted by Ares. Ares is apparently Cupid’s father, which perhaps I should have known, but the Greek god’s family tree is gnarled. Persephone’s origin as a fertility goddess is brought up again, but why that would be so important remains a mystery to me. While I’m glad Persephone was finally able to express her feelings (or lack thereof) to Apollo once and for all, that plot point was left open to reappear later. The endless extension of Persephone’s trauma related to Apollo may be realistic since many people are forced to see their abusers even when they don’t want to, but that ceased to be an enjoyable or interesting part of the story for me.
By Comfort and Adam (art and history) Color Flats by various
Reviewed by Michael Mazzzacane
It’s time to form a Teen Team! After refusing the “jingo guts” that is the task force, Telepath and Motherboard decide it’s time to do something on their own and with less supervision. Well, obvious forms of oversight since this is literally and metaphorically a post-9/11 gang who are aware that they exist within a surveillance state.
Although the actual recruiting montage isn’t until Episode 9, it provides an underlying structure for the earlier tapes on a macro and micro scale. Comfort and Adam found a better way to pace the individual strips in webtoon form by making each individual episode about three scenes. Scenes defined as the appearance of a marking indicating the date, time and place. This lends a sense of integrity to the tape, as the individual scenes are generally self-contained. The last between Telepath in Episode 7 bleeds into the first section of Episode 8, but they’re still clearly delineated in a way that makes them work on their own.
Their framing of dialogue-heavy sequences improved as seen in the Telepath sequences with Uncle Virtue and Countryman Shawn. Framing and panels are more dynamic and take advantage of vertical space in a way that previous episodes did not.
What the team has yet to discover at this point is lettering in vertical space. As Quake and Monkey walk in their humble patrol, suddenly the sound of gunfire is heard! Or it’s supposed to when they react to the sound of their music. As a reader, the Blam Blam onomatopoeia pair was too small to register, placed in the lower corner of a panel gutter and not in a more prominent place like the center of the gutter space. ]
“Uniques” continues to show signs of growth as the comic is translated into webtoon and continues to grow from the Ultimate Marvel Comics brand of superhero storytelling of the 00s.