The Webcomics Weekly #190: The Unique House of Rachel Smythe (6/14/2022 Edition)

By | June 14th, 2022
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

The Webcomics Weekly is back in your life. This week Elias goes house hunting with “The House of Lowther” a gothic story that’ll have you wishing Matthew McFadden was around to tell you how much you’ve bewitched him. Meanwhile those two love birds in “Lore Olympus” continue to go through the repeated inevitable trauma of courtship, romance, and existence as part of the Greek Pantheon. In “The Uniques” it’s finally time to put a team together, a team of teens. A Teen Team, no ones ever done that before.

The House of Lowther
Episodes 1-2: ‘Welcome to the House of Lowther’ – ‘Meet the Staff’
Updates: Wednesdays
By KLynnSmith
Reviewed by Elias Rosner

Shout out to Al over at Comic Book Yeti for bringing this one to my attention. “The House of Lowther” is a former Patreon comic that’s now being serialized in webtoon format on, well, Webtoon. It’s a gothic story, reminiscent of “Jane Eyre” in places and of “Frankenstein” in others. Although the plot is only just getting started, I think I can safely say we’re in for a treat with this one.

There is an air of mystery to “The House of Lowther” that is wonderfully cultivated by the pace of Smith’s paneling. It’s not overextended with large panels separated by long swaths of background effects nor is it crammed and jumbled. Instead the panels unfurl methodically as we, and the main character, learn more about the mysterious House of Lowther. And oh how mysterious it is.

It’s interesting to read a modern Gothic, Victorian Governess/Domestic story. Because they are genres that are not as ubiquitous anymore, the freedom to play with old archetypes in new ways is greater. This is, at least for me, simply because the situations feel classic rather than overdone. For example, the character being kept hidden from the protagonist by a more senior in-the-know character for what seems to be sinister or shameful reasons. Or even the central defining characteristic OF the Governess/Domestic story, that of a young woman gaining new employment and learning to live in the world, though in the case of the former the world being a strange, big manor/sanitarium/boarding house/any hospitality job really.

KLynnSmith’s art takes a bit of getting used to, as most of the characters look akin to dolls or Margaret Keane paintings. It’s a stylistic choice I don’t love but there’s nothing wrong with it and it doesn’t detract from the comic. It will be interesting to see the contrast between Sawyer Ellis, who has the biggest eyes so far, and the other residents of the House, one of whom we meet at the end of episode 2.

That meeting may not be the inciting incident but it certainly is the crux of the story going forward and on that one reveal alone, I am hooked and excited to read on.

Lore Olympus
Episodes 97-101
Updates Sundays
By Rachel Smythe
Reviewed by Mel Lake

What would my mom do? In episode 96, Persephone asked herself this question and flashed back to an incident in her childhood where Demeter stood up to Zeus. This led to dire consequences for the goddesses, but it proved to little Kore that her mom wasn’t someone to trifle with. Now, Persephone is able to finally tell off Apollo, who switches between a pitiful insistence that he has feelings for Persephone and egomaniacal ranting.

After the cartoony style of the last few episodes, these feel more visually mature. Persephone and Apollo look like human adults, albeit strangely colored ones. In fact, Persephone here looks far older than she usually does in this strip, which is a welcome change to me. I’ve always looked a little askance at the childish ways she’s sometimes drawn since she’s also a very sensual character with a certain amount of sex appeal. That said, when Persephone’s rage really gets going and her eyes glow red, at times she looks downright bizarre. I also caught a few typos in these episodes, which hopefully get fixed when the print version catches up to this part in the story.

Once Apollo is rushed off by the arrival of Cupid, Persephone returns to Cupid’s house, where she’s confronted by Ares. Ares is apparently Cupid’s father, which perhaps I should’ve known, but the Greek God family tree is a gnarly one. Persephone’s origin as a fertility goddess is again hinted at but why this would be so important remains a mystery to me. While I’m glad Persephone was finally able to state her feelings (or lack thereof) to Apollo once and for all, that plot point was left open to reappear later. The endless dragging out of Persephone’s trauma relating to Apollo may be realistic since many people are forced to see their abusers even when they don’t want to, but it’s stopped being an enjoyable or interesting part of the story to me.

Continued below

The Uniques
Episodes 7-9
Schedule: Mondays
By Comfort and Adam (art and story) Color Flats by various
Reviewed by Michael Mazzacane

It’s time to form a Teen Team! After turning down the “jingoistic tripe” that is the Taskforce, Telepath and Motherboard decide it’s time to do something on their own and with less supervision. Well, obvious forms of supervision since this is a post-9/11 literally and metaphorically strip that is aware that it exists within a surveillance state.

While the actual recruitment montage isn’t until episode 9, it provides an underlying structure for the preceding strips on a macro and micro scale. Comfort and Adam have figured out a better way to pace individual strips in Webtoon form by making each individual episode roughly three scenes long. Scenes defined as the appearance of a marking showing date, time, and place. It gives a sense of wholeness to the strip as individual scenes are usually self-contained. The final one between Telepath in episode 7 bleeds into the first section of episode 8, but they are still clearly demarcated in a way that makes them function on their own.

Their framing of dialogue heavy sequences has improved as seen in Telepath’s sequences with Uncle Virtue and Countryman Shawn. The framing and paneling is more dynamic and takes advantage of vertical space in ways previous episodes had not.

What the team hasn’t cracked at this point quite yet is lettering in the vertical space. As Quake and Singe walk through their lowly patrol suddenly the sound of gunfire is heard! Or it’s supposed to as they react to the sound of their music. As a reader the pair of Blam Blam onomatopoeia were too small to register, placed in the bottom corner of a panel gutter not in a more prominent spot like the center of the gutter space. ]

“Uniques” continues to show signs of growth as the comic is translated into Webtoon and as it continues to grow out of the 00s Ultimate Marvel Comics brand of superhero storytelling.

//TAGS | Webcomics

Multiversity Staff

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