The Webcomics Weekly is back in your life! This week we have continued coverage of “Lore Olympus” and “The Uniques”. The season drags on in “Olympus”. Meanwhile, the starting ‘Uniques’ go through another type of team-building exercise: bowling. Elsewhere, we have a cover of “Rainbow!” a long-running comic that has been remastered to fit the vertical scrolling format offering another case study of how these changes change and improve or detract from the original piece. And, oh yes, it’s a lovely romantic strip! it’s a solid batch of bands as always.
Updates on Sundays
By Rachel Smith
Reviewed by Mel Lake
The first season of “Lore Olympus” is over! I don’t know why it’s called a season since it’s not a TV show… but wait, Persephone is the Goddess of Spring. OK I understand. With 115 episodes in this season, hoo boy, that was long. The second season is well underway and the second volume of the print edition of the comic has just hit stores, so I’m slowly catching up on this mega long love story and gossip. (Lots of love but less thunder in this version of the mythos than the one in theaters right now… also less goats.)
With Hades and Minthe’s relationship over, the underworld gossip trio sets off to find out what Persephone might be hiding behind her ridiculously huge eyes and tiny outfits. The ever-smarmy Apollo helps them talk to Helios, the chained god who brings daylight and sees everything. It turns out that Persephone’s anger, shown when her eyes turn red, was more than a few minor meltdowns while still living in the mortal realm. We’ve seen Persephone chafe at the restrictions her mother Demeter has placed on her, but when she goes on a rampage and slaughters an entire mortal village, it’s a tantrum that has major consequences. Demeter covered up the “indiscretion” and it’s unclear if Persephone herself knows about it or if she repressed the memory. This development was a welcome change for me as vague hints of Persephone’s secrets were dropped throughout the series and it was nice to see them actually lead somewhere.
Meanwhile, the main duo themselves play the game of will again. I shouldn’t be surprised, as this is the story of their relationship, but the way Persephone acts with Hades right after setting strict boundaries with him is frustrating. She’s supposed to be a child and she acts like one. But it makes it uncomfortable to see her in sexy outfits and having a romance with a god much older than her. Hades acting as some sort of parental figure (accompanying her to the bank, for example, or carrying her tiny body in his giant arms) has been a staple of romances for ages. And for fans of conventional romances, it’s a familiar trope. I don’t particularly like it, because Persephone ends up looking and acting like a child in the context of a romantic relationship. This aspect of the romance genre in the context of our current culture makes this story difficult to understand, but may not bother other readers.
But the poo hits the fan when Persephone’s misdeeds, which we don’t know if she remembers, are exposed. Presumably, Minthe, Thetis, and Thanatos frame Persephone for mass murder against Zeus in the season’s final panel, since he is a purple god in a white suit. But since many of the characters in the strip look alike, it’s sometimes hard to tell. I give Rachel Smythe a ton of kudos and credit for keeping this story going for 115 episodes, and while there were minor errors that distract from the overall quality, the fact that “Lore Olympus” is still going strong is an incredible feat. I had no idea just how completely entangled this drama would be in romantic tropes when I signed up to read the story, but I’m impressed with the amount of content the team behind this tape produces each week and I’m curious to see what the next few seasons will bring. As a fan of plot-based stories, I’m hoping for more storylines next season as Persephone deals with the consequences of her actions and the actual removal of the Persephone mythos is brought to light. .
‘Ep 22’ – ‘Ep 28’
Updates: every other Friday
Written by Sunny Gloom
Illustrated by Rue Gloom
Reviewed by Elias Rosner
Some of my favorite things to understand are the ways webcomics change over time. It’s like an archaeological dig, deducing what once was from snippets of information. First I thought “Rainbow!” was a fairly new comic, but it actually ran for a while before being remastered and reformatted to fit scrolling (especially for webtoons.) Then in April 2022, the comic became part from the Tapas early access program and began releasing longer, more cohesive episodes. It is this point, between ep 21 & 22 that I chose as a starting point.
The art of Glooms in these episodes is a big draw for the comics. It’s lively and simple, with solid backgrounds and a clear sense of space. The color scheme is limited but uses pinks and blues quite effectively to create both a sense of unease during the heavier chapters and a poppier, lighter feel during the rest. This is also the case with writing. I really wanted to commend the purples at the end of ‘ep 28’ for their double duty night and apprehension.
As for the plot in these episodes, Boo, our protagonist, mostly deals with the fallout of his mother’s visit to the hospital. Her mother is a toxic and alcoholic who won’t admit she has a problem and Boo is so non-confrontational that she can’t bring up any of the tough topics she needs. These episodes are perhaps Boo’s lowest point to date and we see her grapple with her conflicting feelings, of the mother she once knew and the mother before her. Yet we are also shown the kindness of her boss (work mom), the concern of her colleague (friend mom), and the desire for connection with the mysterious green-haired girl (bad mom).
Did I mention this was a romance comic?
If one were to judge a story by its title, then “Rainbow!” would seem, at first glance, very misleading. The exclamation mark lies! It promises excitement and happiness and instead we have sadness and stress. But in fact, “Rainbow!” is a much more appropriate title. This is beauty after the storm. The relief after the tumult. It is a signal for queer life and connection. It’s a promise that things will never go so badly again.
We are in the storm right now but the rainbow is starting to form.
By Comfort and Adam (art and history) Color Flats by various
Reviewed by Michael Mazzzacane
“The Uniques” as a side-scrolling webcomic continues to improve, especially the opening sequence of Episode 14 as Annihilgator summons his friends. While the panels themselves aren’t a significant change in terms of overall geometry, there is noticeable play with the vertical length and constant POV swaps that hide and expand Annihilgator and keep him out of sight, allowing the villain to be an efficient monster. It’s a simple but effective trick and a good example of how one can translate normal format comic book pages into these strips, with the right background art.
I always forget that this tape is technically in that late 90s early 00s mode, which explains so much more Monkey. To the creative team’s credit, they make me feel something more than instant abject distaste for the bro. with the start of episode 13 showing Monkey and Jack were until the day New York was erased. They rightly see the massive change that will occur and how the common man will be forgotten as society and government reorganize in a world devoid of most superhero infrastructure. This, plus the backstory of why he always wears gloves, gives much-needed depth to the exuberance of your character’s face quality.
It’s always great to read indie superhero books because they more often function as genre metas and commentaries, Annihilgator is a fun point of reference and solid design, but you can’t just offer fakes and intertextual references and expect people to get involved. What mobilizes people is strong character work that helps cover all the postmodern reflexivity. Comfort and Adam riff on one of the things that made Claremont “X-Men” and Wolfman-Perez “Titans” work so well, giving these groups of characters something to do that isn’t from shit cape but rather just be friends. Here, the annual baseball game is replaced by a trip to a colorful bowling alley. The writing team’s ability to simply write engaging dialogue that feels character-specific in conjunction with solid art makes this a thoroughly effective set of strips. Earlier I described the subtle changes in the panels as “simple but effective”, there is nothing simple about structuring this sequence. It’s a balancing act with 6 characters who must operate in sub-groups and link together in a larger sequence that is bowling. There is a lot to balance, but to achieve this balance, everything seems simple.