Monday, March 24, 2014

Webcomic Review: Phandomland


http://phantomland.smackjeeves.com/

Santa Lusion is a rather ordinary series but ever since she came there Chie's life has been strange. Brought there not by choice she wakes up one morning to say that she suffered from a terrible diease that left her with no memories of her previous life and was declared dead by official records. And now she's in the employ of Cypress, an organization that trains these "ghosts" to fight crime and she's been given the meanest, toughest ghost to train her, crap. 

Cops, "light" superpowers, people with unreliable memories about their pasts, none of these ideas are new and I'm sure I've come across at least one story before with all three of these tropes in it, there's a lot of fiction out there guys. However there is something to the rawness of these tropes which makes me think that they won't play out the usual way. M isn't just the usual "bad cop to the rookies good cop," he's an antihero for sure and I expect getting him to change will be one of the ongoing conflicts. Likewise, Chie doesn't seem like she'll just settle into being the new girl, I can also see her fight to figure out her past being not only a driving force but an even bigger conflict than m's attitude problem. And there I've just explained why this series, despite it's rather ordinary summary, there's a spark, a fight to it which I think will help develop it very nicely. 

Besides how the story is structured, I like how spunky Chie is. She's a likable newbie whose curious and ignorant but not dumb, although I expect she'll be the "audience stand in" character for a while in order to get all the exposition across. I do wonder where the story will go though, there's a short blub on the comic's front page that the story has been printed before yet I've gotten the impression that the current updates are all new. In the end that part won't matter although the art does actually feel a little dated as well. I don't mean that in a bad way, rather that it seemed like four or five years ago, perhaps a bit longer, it was "in style" to go aping manga by drawing a comic in just black and white with some tones, in some ways a very stark style that contrasted a lot with the character designs and setting details, and I just don't see that style used quite as much (heck, I think webcomics are actually leaning more towards being in color these days which is rather cool). Regardless, I hope that isn't a sign that something behind the scenes isn't going well for the comic and that it develops into being as interesting as I think it will be!

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