Monday, March 19, 2012

Webcomic Review Month 2012: Namesake

Another shorter entry but honestly since school is going to really start picking up now (some of my friends like to call this part of the spring semester "Seven Week Hell"which speaks for itself) so that's probably for the best. And I am glad that I have a little more time to talk about today's title since it's one of my favorite webcomics out there. Sure I like all of the ones that I've talked about so far but there are some that I'll find and wonder why I didn't find this gorgeous thing earlier (I don't follow many non-anime reviewers and simply haven't found a ton of people who talk webcomics) and plot how to convert all my friends to my new-found love.

 Namesake by Megan Lavey-Heaton and Isabelle Melançon
In this story stories aren't just the words on a piece of paper but actual other worlds which sometimes need someone to come along and help play out the story again to keep everything moving smoothly. Those people are called Namesakes and Emma Crewe is one of them, despite the fact that there has never been a namesake called Emma, the organizations that monitor namesakes never predicted this and that she is now stuck in a version of Oz long after Dorothy came and went*. So while she has to navigate through this strange new landscape, without any knowledge of namesakes and the like, her sister Elaine is stuck on Earth and discovering that she might have some special talents as well.

This comic has the wonderful combination of a really neat, interesting plot and lovely artwork to back it up which, while not necessarily for a good webcomic, definitely helps. The art isn't full color but spot color with only certain elements in a scene having color which certainly gives the comic an interesting feel and a very distinct visual style. I do feel like the comic might be trying to balance too many different plot lines at once, there are actually four distinct groups of people with connected plots and the two that I didn't mention in the summary really don't get quite enough page time. In fact, Elaine's developments also have been pushed to the side to focus more on Emma, who is the main character and has the most going on, and the fact is that we the readers still don't know that much about what happened in the first chapter to start the story and it's clear that there is an even larger plot connected to that which is going on in the background. The story is interesting and engaging enough that normally when reading the comic I don't even think about that but it is frustrating to be speculating about the story and then realize just how much we're still missing at this point. Despite that I do really love what the story has done so far and, based on all of that, I'm confident that when everything does come together it will be amazing and make the story even better yet.

*I believe they are following L. Frank Baum's Oz canon through the sixth book or so and then veering off so the Oz here is quite different from that in the Hollywood movie.

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