Angel Warrior

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Original review author: Long Tom
Webcomic name: Angel Warrior
Author: Martin 'Hiro' Jackson
Start Date: January 27, 2002
End Date: March 28, 2003
Genre: Sprite webcomic
Defining Flaw: Nearly-unreadable text, lazy sprite art, weak humor, randomness up the wazoo.

Rating Summary
Art: [no stars given]

For the largely-unreadable text. Barring that, it's just lazy sprite art.

Storyline: Wiki.png

Sprite characters engaged in silly antics.

Characters: Wiki.png

A combination of self-inserts and copyrighted video game characters.

Miscellaneous Details: Wiki.png

The author at numerous points complains that he is a busy college student and therefore has no time to do a good job on it. The old adage "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right" comes to mind.

Overall: Half.png

The author evidently had the idea that just throwing a collection of video game sprites together would be enough for a webcomic. That proved dead wrong.



Background

Angel Warrior was in the to-be-reviewed section of the BWW forum. Easy to see why.

Downfall

The webcomic always sucked.

Story and Plot

The story begins with the joke of the author putting a sprite version of himself in his own webcomic, and finding that being a sprite sucks. The main cast is introduced, their characters stats included. So what do they do? Engage in silly sprite antics.

What sort of antics? Jokes such as only certain sprite pictures being available and thus influencing the story, and events happening at random, and the sprites having hit points (which the author later abandons), fights where the bad guy is supposedly defeated (or not), fights taking weird turns, and how the author can always win in the end, and in fact can do anything he damn well pleases with his own webcomic.

But wait, there's more! In the next story arc the characters' sprite bodies get switched around, the Megaman character sprite is brought in, l33t speech is utilized, Alexballs are brought in, more characters are introduced, our protagonists get captured and imprisoned then are freed, with the Alexballs assembled, Ranma sprites are introduced, and finally...real backgrounds are finally brought into the webcomic! Which actually serve to make the sprites look more amateurish than ever.

I could have made things shorter by saying the story is randomness upon randomness, right? Well, believe it or not, Angel Warrior is evidently supposed to have some sort of overall storyline, as indicated by these two strips. Wow! Thanks to this explanation, now I fully understand everything that happened before, and it all makes perfect sense!

Duh, of course I'm being sarcastic.

So now what? We next have a few filler comics by others. They all suck, and...WOAH! An actual good drawing from someone! Too bad they wasted their talent on this horseshit webcomic.

After several months, the author decides to give his webcomic a facelift via regular use of elaborate screenshot backgrounds and altering the sprite characters to compensate for this fact. Unfortunately, the author failed to improve the writing-same old silly randomness of before.

It should be noted that at the outset of this webcomic, strips were put out daily, but after several months the output started slackening, as if the author were losing interest in his creation before finally pulling the plug. No surprise that it happened here, but this webcomic was so random and boring I could hardly believe that the author had kept it going for even as long as he did. Of course he hasn't come close to the time-wasting record of StrRedWolf with his Stalag '99 webcomic.

Art review

Yes, this is a sprite comic; one shouldn't expect Rembrandt-quality visuals. 8-Bit Theater was a well-regarded webcomic that used the same trope.


The visuals really bring tears to one's eyes. Well, the harsh and jarring colors certainly do.


Sprite comics are inevitably the same trope: computer-generated characters on top of computer-generated backgrounds, with typed word balloons. From frame to frame, everything usually stays the same, with little or no expressions or movements on the characters except when absolutely necessary for whatever the joke is.

But what makes Angel Warrior worse than the others is the text. The letters are often too thin and tiny to comfortably read. I had to look closely at the computer screen and squint to read much of the writing. Sometimes the text is on colored backgrounds, making it even less legible. Seriously, I got eyestrain trying to read the damn thing.

Writing review

A webcomic might get by with bad art if the writing were entertaining enough. The xkcd webcomic, though it uses stick figures, works because of its clever writing.

But as mentioned above, the writing in Angel Warrior is more random than anything else. A clever joke is when something happens unexpectedly, but when you look at the events that led up to this unexpected result, what had happened unexpectedly makes perfect sense after all; one just didn't happen to anticipate it. This is different from randomness, where something happens unexpectedly, and one had no reason to anticipate it; that something just happened out of the blue. And any jokes which are not outright random in this webcomic are entirely predictable.

Clearly the author had been making things up as he went along, coming up with the concept and not knowing what to do with it once it got underway. He kept blaming his tight schedule for the faults in his webcomic, though in all honesty I doubt he would have done much better with it if he had had all the time in the world.

Author biography

I could find nothing beyond what he had in his webcomic site.

Conclusion

Angel Warrior may have lasted little more than a year, but it was such a chore to read through it felt like it was longer. Apart from the sometimes-unreadable text, the pictures are ugly to look at, if they are not plagiarized from video games. There is evidently supposed to be some overall plot, but I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Humor consists of random events or predictable jokes, few of which are even mildly amusing. Really, the only reason to read any of this is if you are a masochist who wants to torture yourself.

Links