Lee: Well, as our happy little blog continues to grow and gain exposure we get more requests to review books. It’s all been from smaller publishers but that’s ok. I always loved being the first kid on the block with the new toy and this is no different. Someday, these creators on these smaller books will be successful and they will either love us or… respect out opinion.
The latest request came from Septagon Studios. They have a new book out and wanted to know what we thought. So, today Gwen and I will review…
Scorn by by Kevin Moyers with art by Philipp Neundorf
Gwen: This is a fairly straightforward revenge plot at the moment. Here's the official hype from the first issue which sums it all up nicely: "19-year-old Michael Riggs witnesses the murder of his best friend at the hand of notorious gang leader Robert Torres. Michael becomes obsessed with revenge, and nothing can stop him on his vicious and bloody rampage of vigilante justice."
Gwen: I wasn't terribly impressed with this book. I found the art to be unattractive and while that works for some books it lacked the fluidity of Templesmith and the distinct character of Teddy Kristiansen (both artists who pull off the darker art style). While this story does need a darkness and even primal feel to the art to compliment the plot I felt that Neundorf's work is underdeveloped. Much of the layout looks like Jim's old cutout comic book character book. I found it difficult to pay attention to the story at times because the art was so rough that it was difficult to tell who was who (or even if a certain shape was a person or not). The art is expressionistic at best. The story was unoriginal and to an extent unbelievable. Perhaps if Micheal's lover had been killed it would make more sense for him to go on a murdering vengeful rampage, but his friendship with his roommate - well except for a brief 'buildup' I have a hard time understanding what exactly pushes the main character towards homicide. Throw in the 'hooker with a heart of gold' aspect and I'm losing interest fast (and since Micheal sleeps with said hooker I have to wonder what kind of STDs he's picked up, ew). On the upside the story is easy to follow and moves along quickly.
Lee: Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from this. I’ve never heard of Septagon and this was their first offering. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised that this was pretty good. The story held up for two issues and even managed to get a little characterization in. I mention this because most new comics are all action and setup and forget to introduce us to the characters.
I will admit the story stretches credibility at points but I forgave that. If I can believe men in tights can fly I can believe some duex exmachina type co-inky-dinky’s.
The art was good. It appears the artist is doing his best Ben Templesmith/Ashley Wood impression. His style isn’t quite his own yet but competent enough to hold a persons interest. Let me clarify, it tells the story well and the layout was handled well. There was nice flow between the panels and enough variation between panel angle and layout to maintain my interest. But, the figures were definitely off. The proportions of the bodies tended to change and there were points when the anatomy was off and not on purpose.
I have to say the lettering for sound effects was particularly weak. It was obviously photo shopped in and appeared to be floating on the page instead of an organic part of the page.
Gwen: Lee, you and I seem to disagree on art a lot. I feel that I could have gotten just as much of an idea of how the story was moving with expressionistic stick figures. I'm not saying that the art doesn't have potential, but I draw people better than this and I definitely don't think that my art is strong enough to make comic books. It all just looks so... unfinished. Also, I found the characterization to be forced for the most part. Micheal's encounter with his father seemed to be thrown in for no good reason. Actually the characters that I like were the police officers, they were well done despite only making a few appearances.
Lee: We disagree because you wrong more often than not. Art is more than figure drawing. The art has to be able to tell the story through individual panels and get the eye to flow in the desired path. In that sense the art was strong. The misproportioned anatomy appeared to be a weakness instead of a desired effect. I felt the artist was trying to be detailed but couldn't quite pull it off.
As for the story, I agree, some of the lead characters motivations are thin but it didn't bother me. The author used extreme examples (stretching believability) to show a base for how angry the character was. In that sense, I gave it a pass because I was looking at the grander tale being told.
I love independent publishers but in order to succeed with that route you need to be able to appeal to a wider audience. That means more accessible art and more believable character reactions. This book could easily improve plot-wise, but the art needs a lot more work. With more time in the planning stages this comic could improve drastically.
I disagree about more accessible art. Look at the diverse styles on the market and the wild amount of success each seems to have. The art could be improved but it's good enough to convey the story. As for the story, it's a strong plot with some weak moments. Overall I liked the package and they creators show positive potential.
To see for yourself...
Visit the publisher at: http://www.septagonstudios.com/
Previews at: http://preview.septagonstudios
Visit the Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v