Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Webcomic Review: Widdershins

Well it's that time of the month again, it's a bit terrifying how fast this first part of the year goes by. I'm afraid that I've been focusing one fantasy/sci-fi webcomics here more than I meant to but after thinking about it I realized that most of my favorite "realistic" comics are real-world journal comics, many of which are still fairly new or on and off hiatus fairly regularly. I'd ask for people to recommend me more but I'm not even sure what I would want out of a "realistic fiction" comic, do those include mysteries? Since I am completely down with more mysteries, although nearly every plot-centric comic will have a mystery or two in it just like this one here does.

Widdershins by Kate Ashwin

In another time there was a town in England called Widdershins and it was the epicenter of magic for the country. Magical calamities and adventures aren't uncommon in a place filled with magic users but the Barber family seems to have been dragged into more than usual lately and they are only slowly realizing that it all seems to be connected.

I'm not completely sure I would label this as an all-ages comic, I would need to do a more careful reread to say that, but I feel perfectly fine saying that this a delightful comic that anyone over the age of 12 can read easily and enjoy even though it's a story filled with adult characters. I would recommend reading the story in chunks however if you can, despite a three day a week update schedule the story is longer than it appears and the early chapters are semi-standalone so I've had some trouble remembering the finer details about the "the Barber family is being targeted by manifestations of the Seven Deadly Sins" over-arching plot. I'll also note that I tend to get the characters Harry and Nichola mixed up since not only do they look rather similar (the faces are different but I can only tell when the characters are side by side, I swear it's not my small face blindness coming through here) and, combine that with similar grumpy personalities and some dark settings, and I wonder if I'm the only one whose realized that mistake halfway through a chapter.

Despite that mix-up however I can't really hold it agains the comic (especially since there is a family tree and cast page now) since it is a fun comic. My favorite of the stories so far is the baking centric one since I really liked the one-off cast members there  (I doubt that Alexa will come back into the story but I'd be happy if she did), although the last few pages which alluded to an even bigger plot than the one the characters are currently facing has me baffled. I'm also slightly confused by the chapter order, that baking centric chapter is four out of a current six I would have sworn that the chapters were in chronological order up to that point but it seems like chapter five goes back in time a little bit and then to the main time in chapter six. It does make some sense from a character standpoint, giving the reader a bit of background on some of the side characters and putting them in a different dynamic than they've previously been in to keep it interesting (without having to introduce a completely new side character cast in each chapter). I do think in the grand scheme of things however that has made the story a little too confusing and that isn't the intent, keeping the reader guessing like that doesn't seem to fit the overall story tone.

I feel like I've said more bad things than good about the comic which really isn't how I feel about it, I do enjoy it and I've been following it for years now. It's fun with enjoyable characters and has a different sort of conflict and resolution each time. Currently the story seems like it's going to finally reveal why the Seven Deadly Sins are so drawn to the Barber family (even if they usually influence a completely unrelated side character first) which is exciting and just when I expected it to be, there are only two sins left to show up (as far as we know) and I'm wondering if the story will continue beyond that point or not. Regardless, if the story does run for just seven chapters theres at least another year of updates left, possibly two since this story also has a tinge of "every story is longer than the last" creep ("serial creep") and I'll be tuning in every week until whenever it stops.