The Devil Plays Idol and Aphrodite’s Return – Multiversity Comics

The Webcomics Weekly is back in your life! With a simple question, is this the music of Aphrodite!? With it also comes the endless drama of Hades and Minthe in “Lore Olympus”. Meanwhile, in “Lavender Jack,” a series of big design decisions highlight a new character. And the “Devil Plays Idol” this week.

The devil is playing idol
Episodes 1-3
Updates: Completed
By Maria Mediarito
Reviewed by Elias Rosner

It’s rare that I can rewatch a completed webcomic in its entirety, as most new comics are either long-term affairs or way too long to read week after week. Luckily, “Devil Plays Idol” is a short story, sitting across three comfortable episodes of around 6 pages each. It’s a quick read and a fun entry into the “girl likes a monster girl” school romance genre. This isn’t particularly new, plot-wise, with the entire comic being the result of an unexpected confession and an even more unexpected acceptance of said confession. It’s a lot of fun, however, and does a great job of establishing several threads of continuing tension that could be sources of plot and character conflict throughout the series. However, these episodes leave a lot to be desired.

Quick sidebar. Before continuing, I should note that I use comics despite “Devil Plays Idol” and all PenLab comics under Pinoy Komiks, because it is a site featuring Filipino webcomics. PenLab uses komik throughout the site, so similarly, manhwa webtoons fall under the umbrella term “comic”, just like komik here. Regardless, the entire site is on an update break at the moment, but I’m sure to come back and see what else is here in the future. OK. Back to the review itself.

“Devil Plays Idol” feels more like a pilot episode of an ongoing series than a complete work in its own right. I said it was a short story before, and it is, but it’s struggling to stand on its own. There is an assumption on the part of Mediarito either on past knowledge of which we are not aware or on the promise of future developments which are not, for the moment, to come. Essentially it’s torn between being a full meal and a sampler platter, so it’s not the best either. Still good but not as good as it could be.

This is also true of the comic itself. There’s a central “mystery” that’s teased throughout – albeit given by the title – that’s both played up as a real mystery to the audience and main character and a source of dramatic irony where the comic assumes we know what happens when no information has been given other than “there is miscommunication here”. This isn’t helped by the occasional panel flow issue, which is particularly prevalent in Episode 3 where the pages are cluttered with numbers sticking out of panels and word bubbles cascading down the page.

The charm of the characters helps smooth out those missteps, and Meditarito’s fun, expressive facial expressions keep things from getting too out of control or confusing. In a genre of big emotions and bigger, broader comedies, the ability to convey that is often more important than exactly how it’s conveyed. Or, to put it another way, I know the emotional beats that led to the page where Seth gets decorated by Grace, though the details were murky at best and it still landed and made me laugh.

I hope to see more of these two disaster lesbians not only because I’m a fan of the genre but also because with a bit of fine tuning and a longer look at the horizon, Meditarito could make for a series that isn’t just another good starter but really great.

Jack Lavender
Episodes 105-106
Schedule: Tuesdays
By Dan Schkade (writing and art), Jenn Manley Lee (color)
Reviewed by Michael Mazzzacane

There are just a few beautiful design moments that I want to highlight in this review. All in all, act three “The Nightjar” continues at a pleasant pace as the Lavender League continues to probe the Postscript project from separate ends. On one level of society, Crabb and Ferrier interview Abacus Ma. On another level, the Bastrops make their debut in society!

Continued below

In episode 105, we discover Vassar, a probably important new secondary character. Why do I have a feeling she’s going to be important because for all intents and purposes she’s the first character we get a good close-up of in this strip. Later we see Mimley treat her not as an equal but as a worthy adversary with technique and life advice. The action fan in me is disappointed that the tape wasn’t given to Schakde doing a long “Lazarus” fencing streak, but maybe that will come later. Jack’s introduction also with the sillohute on the stairs makes great use of the vertical format and how shooting through motion can support perspective shifts.

The middle part of 105 is devoted to a necessary if somewhat repetitive interview with Abacus Ma. Necessary insofar as he procedurally puts the pieces together, the reader knows, but not the characters. The description of Postscript as “it kills the future” is a very anti-life equation, so it’s a work worth noting. Schkade’s normal design trick bag is on display by projecting previous art in the background as the detectives put things together. Ferrier’s last image before returning to Jack is one of Jenn Manley Lee’s best colorings. The band’s palette is often very rich and for lack of a better term spring – as we’ll see with the ball – but here it takes that richness but declines it in these warm colors that catch the sunlight through the stained glass . It’s beautiful.

106’s opening is a great example of how the design can tell the reader everything they need to about the power dynamics at play, regardless of the dialogue. Mayor-General Gall is a “peacock” as he is later described Schkade draws him bragging about flaunting his “power”. With appalling images of threats that haunt him. Meanwhile, Lady Hawthorne quietly sits there. She’s the one telling the officer to “leave” in a tight, dry close-up framed in black. She is cloaked in shadow and looks fierce. Schkade doesn’t make Gall look like a gullible fool, even trying to earn his respect through the implied threat of his own assassination. But the power dynamic is all about distance and his steely determination versus his anger.

The way Lady Hawthorne reacts to the Bastrops’ presence at the end of 106 is positively TDKR Joker-esque in an EXCELLENT way. She says “there you are” but what she’s actually saying is “honey”.

This band set is all about accumulation. The Nightjar arrives and the whole company is out. It echoes the very first company from the first season, but now Mimley might be on the kill list.

Lore Olympus
Episodes 68-74
Updates on Sundays
By Rachel Smith
Reviewed by Mel Lake

Aphrodite returns! Unfortunately, so does the endless drama between Hades and Minthe, the unlucky nymph.

This week’s batch of episodes brings back the story of Eros and Psyche, showing the aftermath of Eros’ disastrous decision to keep her locked in her apartment without revealing her identity. Eros went on a rampage, seemingly killing a huge group of mortals, which angered Zeus. This is the first time we’ve really seen the gods of “Lore Olympus” directly kill humans, and it’s a bit of a sharp left-wing shift from the lighthearted, romantic tone the show mostly adopts. Aphrodite, Eros’ mother, makes a deal with Zeus and cleans up the mess with Psyche. Since we already know all of this, the flashback seemed out of place where it was, in the middle of Persephone’s processing of her assault by Apollo.

As the story refocuses on Hades and Persephone, Minthe reenters the picture and, once again, stands Hades up, this time leaving him sitting and drinking alone after preparing a romantic dinner for two. But, again, we also see his side of the story, this time directly after seeing how horrifying being left makes Hades. It’s hard to hate Minthe knowing that her supposed “best friend” deliberately sabotaged her out of jealousy. Smythe makes the budding romance between Hades and Persephone complicated in so many ways, and knowing Minthe’s side of the story inspires readers to choose whether to ignore her pain or watch and acknowledge how the lead pair hurt others with their flirt. It’s an honest look at a complex web of relationships. And while you sign up for that kind of soap opera story by reading a long-running webcomic and reading a story about Greek gods, sometimes I want a sense of resolve. Maybe I’m not cut out for endless drama, but endlessly sympathizing with all these characters has taken its toll and I wish someone were happy, for once, at least for a little while.

I rarely criticize the writing in “Lore Olympus” because the quirky art style and clever riffs on the mythos make up for the shortcomings, but I did notice that this batch includes a few typos and some character designs that felt really off . Aphrodite’s face looked exactly like Hera’s, so much so that if they hadn’t been color coded I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to tell who the characters were. The male face and female face used for all of the wide cast of characters became really apparent in this batch and made me realize how important the use of color coding and costumes is to distinguish each character the each other in this comic.