Reviews 

The Webcomics Weekly #193: Maybe Our Soul’s Frosty (7/5/2022 Edition)

By | July 5th, 2022
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Summer in the US has arrived so we here at the Webcomics Weekly thought we’d cool off with a nice scoop of “Dr. Frost,” a tall, cold “Soulwinder” and a small, chill bowl of “Maybe Meant to Be.” Come on down and hang out with us by the Webcomics pool. The water is nice and cool.

Dr. Frost
‘Eggshells’ (4) – (5)
Updates: Saturdays
By Jongbeom Lee
Reviewed by Elias Rosner

Lee is just dropping reveal bombs left and right now. Not only does it seem like Frost has some childhood connecting to Moon but Moon’s right hand man seems to be his younger brother?? That’s wild! I dunno if I love how everyone is starting to be connected in these ways but that’s the way of stories like these. If there weren’t connections then it’d feel a little too much like coincidence. At the same time however, I really would have liked things to be a bit more random. Eh, such is life.

These two chapters of ‘Eggshells’ are great but lacking in substance. They’re functional interstitial chapters, setting up what to come next in the arc, and in that regard, Lee does great. The Moon reveal is juicy stuff when you think about it and Lee portrays it with his usual flourish. I particularly like how Frost’s memories are represented by a rusty deadbolt slowly being pried open. Neglected and forgotten, it doesn’t take much to start letting them out.

I don’t really have much to say about these two chapters, unfortunately. I wish we got more of a focus on Seonga and kept things centered on her instead of bopping back and forth between her and Frost. I think it would’ve let the story be more focused and tense. I keep thinking back to the way Naoki Urasawa paces his manga, specifically “Monster.” He’ll spend chapters, even whole volumes, on characters not our lead in order to develop them and the larger story. It’s excellent and I think could have been used here to great effect.

Still, what we got is still good stuff, just not easy to review on its own. It’s a larger part of a whole and just fine on its own. We’ll see if the next two move things more.

Maybe Meant to Be
Episodes 1-4
Schedule: Fridays
Written by honeyskein
Illustrated bydamcho
Reviewed by Michael Mazzacane

After taking a grad seminar on the romantic comedy genre, I’ve leared a thing or two. Such as god I really hate the banal heterosexist formula that undergirds the genre. But also, man I really like RomComs. This might be a solution to Einstein’s theory of insanity.

The setup to “Maybe Meant to Be” is well known, in order to escape the societal side eye and pressures of not being wed, procreating, and committing to the furthering of the State on a micro level, two people decide to enter a sham marriage. Such is the case of Jia Han and Mincheol Jin, two former kid neighbors who have taken divergent paths but found themselves freelancing (read: unemployed) in their early thirties. This setup has a long history and in the end their sham marriage will likely lead to some negotiated – subversive appearing – stance in response to pretending to do all the things I mentioned above. Creative team honeyskein and damchor’s execution of that negotiation though has me interested enough to see it through.

There is a well known reflexive gag early on in “Invincible” wherein Robert Kirkman and Cory Walke poke fun at the stretching of narratives and moments in superhero comics by repeating the same image 3-4 panels in a row. A similar sort of gag of repeated imagery occurs in damcho’s art early on as it captures the mounting frustration Jia feels at having to do all the work and than the guilting used to justify being made into Cinderella. While the formatting of the strip itself is nothing special, how it captures comedic timing is plainly excellent. Throughout the strip the creative teams ability to make the timing work makes up for the generic qualities of the strip.

Continued below

The honeymoon experience between the two is particularly varied in terms of rhythms. From their night together in the suite, the anxieties of what is expected of them on that night, and the reveal of a double meaning at work and visual gag that shows them living as Lucy and Ricky. If there is one minor issue thus far it is how central the POV of Jia is to the strip, it turns Mincheol into a walking weird gag of a nerdish fitness freak who is weirdly handsome and yet single and unemployed. There’ smore to his trauma and these early strips don’t do much to uncover it. But it’s a trauma I’m interested in exploring.

For all the generic aspects of yet another romcom that for all of its protestations is doing the same moves other romcomics have done, the comedic timing in this one is worth looking at for the humor and technical execution.

Soulwinder
Episodes: 1-3
Updates: Wednesdays
Illustrated by android_k05
Produced and Written by Lynk
Music Composed by Michael Dang
3D Models Created by Yo
Flatted and Typeset by Shindras
Created by WmW
Reviewed by Mel Lake

In a steampunk-looking world, a giant tower with a windup clock powers everything in the town and is maintained by a single girl. That’s the central conceit of “Soulwinder,” a new comic on Webtoon with five episodes currently available. Each episode is accompanied by a musical score and background sound effects.

The gadget within the tower is called “The Contraption,” an apt name for a device that doesn’t yet have an in-world explanation. It’s not clear whether the residents of the town know or care how their magical energy source works, but they very much care about the power staying on, and the mysterious earthquakes sometimes caused by its mechanical failures. At the helm of the clocktower is “Lyllian,” a pink-haired girl who looks like she’d be right at home in a seinen anime. She wields a giant key-like tool, which I realize sounds a bit risque as I type this sentence. Nathan, a dude who seems interested in dating Lyllian but doesn’t have many redeeming qualities other than his ability to cause havoc, tries to help her figure out what’s causing the malfunctioning of the tower, to no avail. After a mysterious stranger shows up and threatens them, Lyllian finds Nathan dead in his apartment, murdered by a tool that looks suspiciously like hers.

What initially attracted me to “Soulwinder” was the steampunk aesthetic and character designs. The designs are indeed fun, though your mileage will vary as to whether that’s enough to draw you to a new series. When I found out that each episode had music accompanying it, I figured I’d just turn my volume down and ignore it. Instead, I found the background music to be quite pleasant. During a crowd scene, the creators have embedded soft crowd noises in the background that are just enough to lend ambiance to the scene while not distracting from the content of the comic. Is this part of a broader trend with creators on Webtoon adding bells and whistles to make their comics stand out in a crowded content landscape? It might be. But it’s the first time I’ve seen a strip use background music effectively throughout, not just as an addition to certain scenes or episodes.

As of episode three, we’ve only just hit the inciting incident phase of the story, so where Lyllian’s journey will go remains to be seen. I’m not sure I’m convinced that essential infrastructure in this world would be maintained solely by one young girl, but it may not be as far-fetched as one might think. And it gives Lyllian the motivation to keep the tower going at all costs since it’s her duty as the sole clockworker. The tagline of “Soulwinder” is “don’t calm down,” but the creative team has yet to connect that phrase to the story or the characters. “Soulwinder” has a lot of potential but needs some time for the story to find its legs.


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