Saturday, March 10, 2012

Webcomic Review Month 2012: Earthsong, Erstwhile, and The End

My brain is mush so I don't have any attempts at witty banter today, throwing a wedding does that to you, so hopefully three comic reviews (and my three from last year) will make up for that (or who knows, maybe everyone skips this bit anyway, not like that will stop me from writing these intros).

Earthsong by Crystal Yates
In a universe where the planets themselves are sentient a great crisis has arisen, the planets powers are seeping into their creations which gives them soulstones which bestow great powers but also leads to their ultimate destruction. In an effort to save their people, it was decided to move all the effected people off planet to a world that doesn't yet have this problem, Earthsong, where their soulstones can be removed and then returned to their worlds as the rest of the planets search for a cure. Most of the people have vague memories of their previous lives but newcomer Willow has none which leaves her even more confused by the situation. Things have also become more complicated lately as another planet, Beluosus, is also gathering these children with new powers for his own twisted reasons and a full-blown war between the worlds seems to be on the horizon.

The comic has been running for a while but it's finally revealed a large twist which, as all good twists do, explains quite a bit and creates another dynamic for the story, so if anyone wants to try out the series and catch up this is probably the best time to do it. The story manages to have both a wide, epic-feeling scope yet the story never forgets that this isn't just the story of the planets and their children but specifically Willow's story as well. Willow goes through a lot of believable emotions about waking up in a strange world with no memories and conflicting stories around her and it's her viewpoint that really helps keep the story center.

From the collections of the Brothers Grimm, lesser known folk stories and fairy tales written and illustrated by a group of comic artists. Some are amusing, some are disturbing, and only some of them have the morals that everyone today associates with fairy tales.

It seems like everyone is adapting the same five or so fairy tales these days so it's great to see people doing lesser-known ones, the stories actually remind me of the ones I grew up reading (an obscure book called The Lamplight Book of Fairy Tales), and since I was only familiar with Gina Biggs' work it was also a nice way to introduce me to two other great webcomic artists since everyone switches out between writing-adapting/drawing the stories (which also leads to every story having a different art style which I think is really fun). I believe that they have also agreed to only do stories that have an ending and I hope they all have the time to continue this project for another few years.

 The story begins with the alien species of the Flah starting a grand mission, one of many they have done, to rescue the human race from extinction by taking a part of their population and putting them a colony world to start over. The problem for the humans is that this isn't some far off future where Earth is a desolate wasteland and people would be glad for a chance to start over, it's the modern day and the Flah have accidentally overshot their landing place and ended up at a local convention. Things only get better from there for the Flah and for the humans who accidentally find themselves on their ship....

The story is a lot more science-fiction than my premise makes it sound, especially since the story currently isn't set on Earth at the convention but rather in space, and I will also vouch that the convention scenes are a lot better than it sounds. I'm VERY picky about stories set in conventions and really dislike the ones that aren't done well* and here the setting works. The plot has been a little slow to get going since the story has done a great time introducing it's good-sized cast but I'm really enjoying the setting they're creating and can't wait to see more of the plot that involves all the alien species and how all of that fits together. It can be a bit hard at times to remember which human character is which but if I actually used the character page on the wiki they've set up I imagine that wouldn't be a problem anymore.

*coughGeektasticcough. For the record I think that DramaCon is one of the better stories set at a con for having the right mix of strangeness and ordinariness side by side without over-glamorizing the convention and The End does something similar. 

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