The Webcomics Weekly is back in your life. This week our webcomic wranglers take a trip down to “Elephant Town” which now has a new website! Meanwhile we stop off in hades for the latest hot gos in “Lore Olympus”. And it’s team building exercise time in “The Uniques”.
Updates: Weekly at the moment
By Danielle Corsetto
Reviewed by Elias Rosner
It’s been a hot second since I last reviewed “Elephant Town”. You might be wondering how it’s only chapter 2 that I’m getting around to now and that’s because “Elephant Town” now has a fully fledged website! No more of Patreon’s stupid reader for these updates. Obviously for the most current serialization, you have to be a patron or follow Danielle but for readers just finding out about the series, this new site is the best place for it.
I love the design of the site and the way the archive is set up. Easy to use, easy to find where you were, and responsive. No wonder it took nearly two years to get set up.
So how is chapter 2? Well, it’s a hard chapter to review because we’re introduced to Paul, a character who has a lot of growing to do. He’s your prototypical incel, lurking on forum boards that are, how to put it delicately, toxic as all fuck and he’s clearly internalied this. . Danielle’s success as a storyteller makes it so that we feel for Paul, we are repelled by Paul, and we are engaged with the comic in such a way as to reconcile the two and see where we’re going with this messy man. The chapter goes to some dark places beyond the message board and so comes with a content warning for suicidal ideation.
Corsetto’s coloring has improved from chapter one too. I love how textured the night looks and the lighting is top notch. Do you see the glow on Paul’s keyboard? A radon green that’s harsh beneath and yet soft as it radiates outwards. And I have to continue to praise the lettering because it is so lovely. Whimsical and legible, it brings the sounds to life.
Right now the pacing is really great since we’re getting a chapter at a time, though it is not a regular drop of chapters since we’d be all caught up by now if that were the case. Once things slow down to a few pages or a single page at a time, I think it might start to feel a little slow but as a whole, chapter 2 is paced wonderfully, allowing Paul’s mindset to bleed out onto the page without wallowing in it. Corsetto takes the time to show him failing to swish a fortune cookie into the trash! That’s a dedication to character work through the mundane.
Get on the “Elephant Town” train now. Trust me, you won’t want to miss the ride as our cast expands in the next chapter.
By Rachel Smythe
Reviewed by Mel Lake
They say breaking up is hard to do, but this one is long overdue. I didn’t mean to rhyme that but it’s nice to rhyme every once and a while, isn’t it? The main love triangle between Hades, Persephone, and Minthe is back this week on “Lore Olympus,” but with some major character development on the part of Hades.
When we left Persephone, she was recounting the story of her brief liaison with Ares, the god of war. He tricked her into a kiss by pretending to be illiterate, then when he was discovered, Demeter gave him a beating with a pitchfork. That’s the end of the story, and unless something about this brief interlude comes back later, I’m not sure what the point of it was. It showed Persphone’s younger self being even more naive and gullible than she is now, and also hinted again that she’s a fertility goddess with no knowledge of her own powers. Women with powers they can’t control is an unfortunately familiar trope and one that this comic is no stranger to, so I’m guessing this aspect of Persephone’s history will be coming back.Continued below
But the main event of these episodes is Hades’ breakup with Minthe. I’ve always sympathized at least a little with Minthe because the comic provides her with enough backstory to be somewhat a somewhat sympathetic character. Like Persephone, she’s manipulated by her friends and mistreated by the other gods. But while Persephone takes this treatment and becomes the personification of innocence even when she’s not, Minthe acts – and is treated like – a royal bitch. But having realized he doesn’t like the way he feels when he’s with her, Hades finally breaks up with Minthe. Finally. And though it might seem like she’s ready to accept the situation with some grace and go through a journey of personal growth, Thanatos shows up with gossipy dirt he gained from snooping around Persephone’s apartment.
It seems as though Minthe’s part in this story could fade into the background, or she could go on a redemption quest and find her groove without toxic relationships holding her back. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the end of jealous-girlfriend Minthe, and with Thetis and Thanatos egging her on, she’ll become yet another villain trying to keep Persephone and Hades apart. Though I know this is literally a soap opera in webcomic form, I’m tired of this toxic character. I’d like to see her do better, even though that’s not her role in the story. There are enough obstacles in the way of the main duo — mainly a gross power imbalance due to him being her boss and many thousands of years older — so having a jealous ex in the mix seems like adding an excessive amount of drama to an already dramatic story. But as the tagline of the story goes, this is what the gods do after dark, so we shouldn’t expect neat and tidy storylines that end with a happily ever after.
By Comfort and Adam (art and story) Color Flats by various
Reviewed by Michael Mazzacane
The third part of “Uniques” ends with a series of team building exercises. Because nothing says this’ll go smooth like super powered teenagers working together in a deadly lab without supervision. (I mean they’re all pretty much orphans so who’s going to be around anyway). Meanwhile if they only knew what shadowy government conspiracy was heading their way.
Episode 10 shows the strengths and limitations of reformatting pages to fit a vertical strip. As the team was trying to get into the SAFE room, the panels are relatively compact. This denies full group shots and has the by-product of setting up little narrative sub-friend groups. It also builds anticipation and tension for what the SAFE room is going to look like. And then the flick of the thumb scrolls to those panels and … the paneling doesn’t really change to a large splash sized image that emphasizes the enormity of the SAFE room. The design of the SAFE room, a generic white room with perfectly proportioned square paneling, is really made for images that emphasize the bigness, or Tardis like qualities of the design. This just isn’t supported. Whatever anticipatory letdown, however, is soon mitigated by a good use of training montage panel designs that work well in this format.
So much of this comic is an active working through of contemporary and older popular culture. Of course there are a group of guards at Ironside Federal Penitentiary named Hicks, Vasquez, and Hudson, because Aliens is a perennial touchstone. In more contemporary times their use of Singe as a certain time of early 00s misogynistic bro hits a lot harder, god he’s insufferable. It’s just plainly well executed character work, it’s at once cheap heat but also there’s some potential of nuance and layers. The ability to make me just hate this character after 3 panels is remarkable. While there are certain formal choices that are perhaps not the technical best, the character work and overall plotting of “Uniques” continues to make it a solid read and riff on cape comics.