I must admit, the request I received to review this webcomic was one of the most creative I have seen yet, and with my attention already well in hand, it didn’t take much for me to pour through the entire archive in one sitting.
Battle Creek, NE is a bit of a paradox to me. I kept wanting to love it, and there were certainly aspects that I enjoyed a great deal, but with each passing strip I kept finding myself wondering why I wasn’t completely enamored. Ultimately, I settled on the story and writing as possibly the weaker link, which I will explain in greater detail below. I’d prefer to start with the positives.
Artistically, this comic is really solid. One thing that really struck me is that everything is really BIG. The panels are big, the characters are proportionally large, etc. And frankly, I enjoyed that quite a bit. It made viewing on my laptop somewhat challenging, but when I switched over to the desktop, it was pure aesthetic bliss. Correspondingly, characters are very expressive, backgrounds and scenes are well constructed, and there is great use of panel variety, color, shading, and motion to boot. The comic is a little bit like candy for your eyes. June 1st strip was particular clever, with a character in the foreground discussing holing a sword, while in the background there is a poster of someone with a sword, lined up just so. It’s great, truly wonderful.
Once my initial giddiness over the visuals wore off, there were a few story and writing related quibbles that arose. The story to me seems a little…random, disjointed, and a little hurried. The very beginning left me initially confused, and even now that things are progressing, I still feel in the dark about the characters themselves. Now, I will say that there aren’t a great deal of strips yet, so perhaps those issues will be solved along the way. In terms of the writing itself, there are no major issues per say, there is just something…missing. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but, in some ways, I feel like the issue stems from the “voice” of each character being too similar to the others.
Either way, criticisms of the story and writing aside, this comic is still well worth a read. It’s possible I am just being picky, given my writing slant, and even as I mentally observed these facets, I still hungrily clicked the next button until there weren’t any new strips for me to read, which certainly says something about my enjoyment level whilst reading.
You can read Battle Creek, NE here: http://battlecreeknecomic.com
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