Webtoon Reviews

Here's a new one for me, readers- a webtoon! I haven't covered a webtoon from Webtoons.com before. The writer asked for reviews so let's get to it!

The cover painting makes me think of a Dungeons & Dragons board game cover. From the cover and the title, you can tell this is an epic fantasy of some sort with a slight religious bent to it. I typically don't read epic fantasy so I can't think of any novels in this subgenre, but Niobe comes to mind. Is this another Niobe, you're wondering? Perhaps.

The story focuses on an 'underworld' realm of sorts, where we follow elf-like beings Nina and her twin sister Kara, along with their friend Dwain. Kara and Dwain are members of the town guild but Nina has yet to pass the test. Nina feels her sister and friend leaving her behind and tries desperately to get in. However this puts her loved ones at risk. Meanwhile there is a side plot of demonoids escaped from a local jail and heading for the way back to Earth. A demonic prison warden chases after them. How the two plotlines merge will be revealed in future episodes, since I only read up to issue 12. 

Now we must talk about the art. Those unfamiliar with Webtoon might feel it jarring to have full color in the first few pages but not the rest of the first issue. I liked this because it enhances the importance of the scene. Also I am a little familiar with Webtoon's requirements and they like this sort of thing, whereas I feel some readers wouldn't like the inconsistency. Me personally, I liked the shifts in art style throughout the story. 

What I didn't like was some of the paneling. Some scenes had a lot more 'dead space' over character's heads than I liked. This is a common webtoon design flaw, since you're reading top-to-bottom rather than pages like a comic book. Thus, you're always going to have some dead space. When I draw my own webcomic some day, I'll use frame edges to remove some of the dead space and make the reading much tighter. Creator Marc Blair does a good job of making tight panels here, especially during dialogs, but some of issue 9 had the problem. Also, the art doesn't "slap" like a real comic book or even other webtoons like Perfect Hybrid. Some scenes lack definition, while others are well-defined and have fully formed backgrounds. You'll see the Colosseum in one scene and a very tightly stenciled Korean hanok village in another. While I like this, I worry the author might get into a copyright fight if the design is too much like the inspirational piece.

Overall, I'd say this story is a cut above many webtoons out there, but it lacks the artistic flavor of the more famous toons. The plotline doesn't tightly pull in the reader, unless you like heroes and fantasy arcs. But as I read the graveyard scene and the end of issue 12, I could see the plotlines and general story arc starting to form. He's got a good block of 14 issues so far and has started publishing after a long delay, which I find a good sign the story will stick around. That gives me hope in Marc's artwork and paneling for future issues. 

I give UnEarthed a gravely concerned score of 3.5 out of 5 stars. Get out the shovel, folks! We've found silver in these webtoon hills! 

Your can read UnEarthed at Webtoons here.

Here's something different- a webcomic about chess! Or...is it?

Klani is your average teenager who has to move to a new city, until tragedy strikes. Under what circumstances the tragedy has to deal with the main chararcter Klani's older brother remains to be seen. But in this city, chess is more than just a hobby. It's almost a way of life, of success, of rising in the social hierarchy. Klani must become the best grandmaster to find out what happened to her older brother, who disappeared after beating a grandmaster in a thrilling match 8 years earlier. 

The artwork is fairly standard for a webtoon. You're not going to be blown away by it though I feel he draws the characters a bit better in the later issues. The only real problem with the art comes from the lettering. The artist or letterer really needs to improve how the letters are arranged as there are some grammar errors galore and other things that could have been done.

Nonetheless, if you like a semi-serious slow burner of a teen-style mystery drama, you're in luck. Don't worry too much about the story, the art carries it a bit more and the middle chapters really clarify things. You can find this 4 star wonderpiece at Naver Webtoon by clicking the picture.

Where can the zombie genre go now? We've got sci-fi zombies, Victorian era zombies, modern zombies, old zombies, high school zombies, and now... Kindergarten zombies! 

The zombie gas spreads in the city and zombies attack elementary school PS 43 in da Bronx! 9-year-old (really 10) LETITIA JOHNSON hears the initial attack and goes to her younger sister's kindergarten class and keeps them safe. The other classes bail or are overwhelmed, leaving her to protect JAHAYRA and the rest of the kindergarteners. Can she keep the little kids from exposing their position, or are they doomed to die...in PS43!

The comic updates every Monday. Update: My original thought was that the series was delayed, but as of Mon 4/24 that is not the case! 

The artwork is better than average for a webtoon, but not super glittery or computerized like a Naver or Kakao Webtoon. So expect good art and decent paneling along with scary atmospherics. I really liked how they dimmed the scene for nighttime, adding realism with the terror of the night filled with zombie monsters. 

Update: I received word from the author that he has more pages to draw, so this story's ongoing and definitely worth a read if you're into horror and zombie comics. PS43 Survives