Edge the Devilhunter
|Original review author(s):||Norad Bush|
|Webcomic Name:||Edge the Devilhunter|
|Start Date:||January 1, 2004|
|Defining Flaw:||Some of the worst writing I HAVE EVER SEEN.|
Before I begin, you should know that just about EVERY LINK IS NSFW!!
Back in the ‘90’s there was a surge of “edgy” comic books that hit the mainstream. This was the result of artists finally gaining the freedom from their publishers to stop writing cheesy superhero stories and start writing darker, more mature pieces. Creators took this freedom and ran with it, and the market responded quite well to this new influx of “edgy” products. Before long, however, the entire market was saturated with “edgy heroes” and their “edgy stories” and their “edgy problems” and books eventually got published based on how “edgy” they were, rather than on their raw quality. All this edginess eventually ruined mainstream comics for the 1990’s and while the industry is beginning to regrow their brain cells and produce less “edgy” garbage, the foul stench of “edginess” still prevails.
And people wonder why I took to the hills for webcomics.
In spite of how stupid the “edgy” movement was (or I should say still is because it’s not like it went away), there was an entire generation of creators that grew up on this stuff, so it goes without saying “edgy” comics became their prime source of inspiration. And, given all the new technologies and distribution options available to independent creators, where will all the creations of the new generations “edgy” inspired comics end up?
On the fucking web. Of course.
One such example of webcomic “edgy” is Edge the Devilhunter. ETDH is the “edgy” story of an “edgy” hero, Jack, who’s an “edgeknight” for heaven on an “edgy” mission to fight “edgy” monsters with his “edgy” sword (with an edge!) and get into “edgy” misadventures. Have I beaten the word “edgy” into the ground enough for you? Is it starting to lose its meaning? Well, that’s pretty much how Edge the Devilhunter treats it, by beating the reader over the head with the material to the point where the edginess becomes ridiculous.
And overdoing edginess is the least of Edge the Devilhunter’s problems.
Honestly, I found this comic and went into it thinking it was actually a GOOD webcomic. I mean, the pictures are so pretty, what could possibly go wrong?
How about horribly racist cops, horribly tasteless dialogue, and walls of text? Jesus, and that’s just the first page. It doesn't get better after that. Oh, no. The rest of the entire comic from there, Sam Romero persists to push his extreme political agenda, his love of violence, his misunderstanding of what breasts look like, and his horrid dialogue TO THE EDGE!
…Edge of reason that is. Suffice to say, this thing has always been awful.
Story and Plot
The story is cribbed from just about every “edgy” comic that has ever been. This is the official blurb. See if it doesn't sound familiar:
Okay, so it’s Spawn meets the awkward sexy parts of Neon Genesis Evangelion, but I guess that isn't enough to call it bad. It’s all the other crap that follows that makes it so bad.
In the first chapter, we meet a lovely girl named Hana. We don’t see her for more than a scene and a half before she is brutally raped and murdered. (Cheerful.) As it turns out, she is murdered by her boyfriend, who has a detachable penis that he leaves at the scene of the crime. Jack goes on a quest to avenge her death, by retrieving the severed breast her killer kept of hers and returning it to her burial. But he can’t kill the killer. Oh, no. Only maim him horribly.
From there, it just turns into a series of disjointed misadventures ranging from barely legal cop girls kicking ass for no reason to giant cock monster fights. I don’t know. It’s ridiculous and the array of ludicrous plots gives me the idea Sam Romero is clinically insane or on the best drugs ever.
The art is the best thing about this comic. The pen and ink renderings are beautifully done, the action sequences are incredibly dynamic (if not a bit confusing to follow), and the cast is diverse and pleasing to the eye…
Well, at least until you get to the melon tits and the underage girl panty shots.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the sight of the female form, but there’s a right and a wrong way to do everything. Sam Romero can’t resist the urge to draw stripper tits or panty shots on 90% of the female cast in this comic. With all the sphere-boobs, one would think that he’s never seen a woman outside of a strip club, but no, he’s actually perfectly capable of drawing normal women. He just won’t. It’s all pander, pander, pander to the lowest common denominator. To be fair, he also draws his protagonist, Jack, as a muscle-bound freak despite being 100 lbs soaking wet, but in either case, that sort of thing is exploitative and stupid. Women don’t look like that. 16 year old boys don’t look like that either, for that matter. But it doesn't matter because Romero would rather stick to his hypersexualized scribbling and generate web hits than, you know, have some frickin’ artistic integrity.
Oh, yeah, and about that integrity thing: Romero spends an entire 2 chapters rendering…
Wait for it…
That’s right. Hell beasts with more than a passing resemblance to the male genitalia. Dear God I wish I was making this up. Herein lies Romero’s greatest weakness as an artist: the tendency to draw base, horrible, eye-scarring things. Again, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t believe the world is all lollipops and candy canes and that Romero should spend his time rendering Care Bears (though I’d be morbidly interested to see his take on that). I just think that everything requires balance. Yes, there are horrible demons in his world. No, they are not pretty. But did I really need the images of dead body with severed boob, exploded eyeballs, Arab guy humping a nun, a guy with cockroaches all over his junk, and a chapter and a half of COCK MONSTERS burned into my retinas?
Oh, now my eyes are bleeding again. Along with every other hole in my head.
The art has its shortcomings, but they’re really only symptomatic of this story’s abhorrent writing. Actually, abhorrent doesn't begin to describe it. Atrocious, contemptible, beastly, vile, vulgar, loathsome, all these $5 words I can use to describe Edge the Devilhunter’s writing still don’t capture the magnitude of its sheer awfulness. As I said earlier, the story execution is just bizarre and this comic contains some of the worst dialogue I have ever seen (and I've read some horrible shit). And while Jim Balent is still the king of mind-bendingly horrible dialog, Sam Romero’s Edge seeks to give him a run for his money. Here are a few of my favorite gems (with links so you know I’m not kidding):
Oh, and that last one about the Puerto Rican love cake? That’s a reference to a vagina.
Thanks, Sammy, in one line you simultaneously ruined Puerto Ricans, love and cakes for me forever.
Yes, the dialogue is unjustifiably bad, but the characterizations are worse. Case in point, Edge the Devil Hunter's main character, Jack. He's is pretty much a [Mary Sue], or I should say an "Edgy" Sue (guffaw!) Every move this guy makes is dedicated to the absolute idealization of this character. He spouts out whatever REALLY IMPORTANT OPINIONS he wants, he insults girls, he swears, he smokes, he commits crimes as an act of TOTAL REBELLION, and he is literally invulnerable. *Sigh.* Sure, he gets punished when he insults women, but Romero only does this for the purposes of comedic banter. It's not really meant to develop his character.
Speaking of the REALLY IMPORTANT OPINIONS THING, Edge the Devilhunter is riddled with this odd “Kill Whitey” left wing diatribe (which is hilarious when you consider Jack, the protagonist is shown to be a pretty pale guy himself). I can only guess this stems from Sam Romero’s personal experiences growing up in New Jersey. While I cannot purport to know what he’s been through as a person or judge his life experiences, I can say that the ultra left-wing material is out of place in an action comic. If this were a comic about politics or if the storyline touched upon politics, that would be more appropriate. Even then, it helps to present the other side’s opinion to achieve a true balance. Using the police as an antagonist is a common bad writer’s weapon of choice, but it’s stilted and unresearched. Not every cop is a bad person. Not every cop is a good person. There is good and bad in everyone and for Romero to completely ignore that and simply use his protagonist as his personal mouthpiece without presenting a counter argument shows his immaturity and inexperience as a writer.
It’s like they say, “A liberal is a conservative who's been arrested. A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged.”
Sam Romero is an artist who grew up in New Jersey, so he already has my pity. Also, he apparently doesn't have the highest opinion of authority figures. Interestingly, trolling his DA account shows me his affinity for editorial cartoons, and he’s actually quite good at them. See, this is what I meant when I said political punditry works in a more appropriate setting. Editorial cartoons is where Sam Romero’s biting left wing commentary belongs, not in an action piece. This makes you wonder why Sam Romero bothers with this webcomic of his, at which he sucks so very much, when he’s so much better at editorial stuff.
For the same reason Dave Cheung doesn't want to go into porn. Because he’s too classy.
Furthermore, Sam Romero has also co-written a book on how to publish webcomics called, pretentiously enough, Webcomics 2.0. The other co-writer of the book is a guy named Steve Horton, whose comic is starting to look like my next victim if he keeps company with the likes of Sammy-boy here. According to user-created reviews on Amazon, the book is a raging piece of shit. For your entertainment...
The first one
The second one
Finally, a friend of mine who just happens to own this book also had this to say at the request of this humble author:
Edge the Devilhunter is something that could have been good, but because Sam Romero didn't have the wherewithal to fire himself as writer back in 2004, we’re left with this maggot-covered pile to contemplate. Sure, the dialogue is abominable and the titties are spherical, but the most tragic part of this whole thing is that it reeks of wasted potential. If only Sam Romero had put down those fucking “edgy” comics of the 1990’s and read more thought-provoking material. If only he kept channeling his energies in a direction more fitting of his political beliefs. If only, if only, if only. At the end of the day, this comic that could’ve been about some awesome action ends up being about overblown politics, immaturity, and one man’s struggle with some serious Freudian issues.