|here in the "Reactions" section.|
|Original review author:||Izzus|
|Webcomic name:||Exterminatus Now|
|Authors and Artists:||Alan Graham (The Virus), Garry Webber (Lothar), Stuart Edney (Eastwood), Martin Faulkner (Silversword)
Those are both their user handles, and the names of the main cast members. I'll be referring to the comic's creators by their names instead of their handles to avoid confusion.
|Start Date:||September 29, 2003|
|End Date:||May 29, 2016|
|Genre:||Gag Comedy, Science Fiction, Fan Fiction|
|Defining Flaw:||Lothar. The character, not the writer.|
The comic jumps in quality somewhere in the middle. It's practically a different comic after that point. That's why there's two review scores.
Rating Summary For the First Half
Rating Summary For the Second Half
The comic began as a collaboration between four guys from the UK. Three of the four were fans of Warhammer 40,000. They met on a Sonic the Hedgehog forum and one of them made the first strip. They also happened to have a world building thing based off of Warhammer 40,000. It was called The Grim Darkness.
They didn't have a story for the comic so they decided to use their fan fiction world building thing as a plot base. This is how they combined their fan fiction with their fan fiction in order to create fan fiction2. Everyone in the main cast was a self insert. The dipfuckery of this idea did not dawn on them until several years into their comic's run, when they changed the name of The Grim Darkness to 404 Page Not Found and the characters grew away from being self inserts. The comic was once written and drawn by all four, but is now only written by Garry Webber and drawn by Alan Graham.
It got better as it went on. I'd say this thing shot itself in the foot the moment it introduced Lothar. He has been the source of a fuckton of disappointment throughout the comic's run. If you were gonna quantify the disappointment as a metric, it'd probably equal several gigadicks of FuckThisShitInTheAss.
No matter how much the comic improves itself, no matter how much the art and humor improves, Garry Webber seems to drag it down at every twist and turn with his own character, Lothar. It's like the comic is drowning a couple of inches below the water of a swimming pool, and Lothar anchors it to the floor whenever it's about to surface.
The comic's downfall could also be the very conceptualization of the comic itself, that being a furry version of Warhammer 40,000. The two are like cesium and water. It just explodes in your face. There are many tales regaling with the failures of those who believe otherwise.
Explaining the Setting
I feel like I have to explain this shit because I can't imagine that any random schmuck would understand why the setting is a bad idea without first knowing what the hell this crap is based off of.
Warhammer 40,000% Markup is a tabletop strategy game in which you spend the majority of your time painstakingly assembling and painting overpriced plastic miniatures for hours on end. Then when you finish painting them, you get to make them fight on a mock battlefield through the use of measuring tape/ribbons and several pounds-worth of six sided dice. The game was originally created as satire. It made fun of people who complained about its predecessor, Warhammer, becoming too grimdark. Nobody got the joke so it eventually became one of Games Workshop's most profitable products.
Warhammer 40,000's setting is damn huge. Put simply: Take a bunch of fantasy races, put them into an advanced dark age of technology, give them big guns and swords and magic, then throw them into space and be like "Yo just kill each other. You're all fucked anyways." Everyone fights. Everyone dies. Yung'uns, animals, elderly women, you name it. Even the dead keep fighting if they were good enough at killing things. Nobody is afraid to commit genocide and everyone hates each other.
Sonic the Hedgehog is the video game character responsible for turning a generation of children into furries. Sega, its publisher, let Archie Comics make a comic book series based off of it. The story of Sonic the Hedgehog, to sum it up quickly, is that furries are trying to fight a dude called Dr. Robotnik. He drains the planet's resources and turns people into robots. Two cousins are sexually attracted to each other and every character sucks. Throw in some fluff-shit to nix any semblance of mature content, and there you go.
Now take these two things and bang them against each other until they mush together. The result is vomit. Vomit all over your computer monitor. An endless stream of vomit, and maybe a little piss thrown in for good measure. Then comes the shit evacuated from your bowels, an explosion of regret and anguish. Bile too. It somehow made its way into your tear ducts from the hemorrhage caused by this idea. Now you're weeping tears of bile. The worst smelling substances in your body expelled all at once, in such a violent manner that you become an invalid, or perhaps catatonic, and likely spend your remaining moments of life in agony.
To strike my point home more concisely, this comic is Warhammer 40,000 with furries instead of warriors made purely from grit, religious zeal, and eugenics. It's made out to be badass like Warhammer 40,000 but Exterminatus Now is really just Disney cartoons playing with guns. There's an expression about putting lipstick on a pig that applies here.
Story and Plot
Exterminatus Now's story takes place on the same planet as the Sonic the Hedgehog comics, Mobius. Either that, or they just share the same name. Which is stupid because why else would a bunch of Sonic the Hedgehog fans name their fan planet the exact same thing, yet have it be a completely different planet. It doesn't matter which one you pick, because:
- It's canon despite being in the shittier half of the comic.
- Doesn't matter if it wasn't mentioned again, it's still retarded.
- The planet thing is retarded.
- Fuck this retarded fan fiction shit.
The story doesn't follow a single overarching plot, though it does occasionally reference previous plot points when deemed necessary for development of the humor or current story. There are multiple story arcs, during which we are treated to the antics of the main cast. The main cast consists of two unqualified inquisitors (Eastwood and Syrus), a fuckwitted jizz muffin with a combat capable cyborg body and the mind of a spoiled brat (Lothar), and a single competent professional (Rogue). They're the worst people to send on any assignment, meaning that they won't be missed if they're killed. They somehow manage to make it out of each mission alive, usually incurring a huge amount of collateral damage. Kind of reminds me of something else that uses this idea more effectively. Maybe the author will eventually try to twist the idea and make it unique to the comic. Time will tell.
Stories range from concepts such as they fight tentacle rape, to they prevent a cult from assassinating their leader, to more recently, they investigate the disappearance of an entire town. Each story arc became less idiotic and more tolerable as the comic advanced. Maybe if they didn't start the comic like they were trying to lick the corn out of the internet's ass, it would be easier to enjoy what it currently is. Doesn't stop it from improving however it can, so the creators get marks for that. The pace of improvement is glacial though.
I can't get past the furry thing either. It's really just a bunch of fluffy animal people running around with guns and being idiots. Every time I start enjoying the comic it jumps back out. It's like dating a cute chick with shitty tits. You'll be chillin and every time you're about to cuddle, bam. Floppy pancakes.
Not to say it can't be funny. Garry Webber at least writes a good joke now and then.
UPDATE: The webcomic hasn't updated in two years, and the last strip is titled "Epilogue-1", so we can safely assume this webcomic is officially concluded.
The pace of improvement is tectonic here too. It used to be fucking terrible. Holy shit was it terrible. There was an improvement over the years, but it took a long ass time to get better.
In its current form I can't complain. The backgrounds are spartan, but detailed enough that you can tell where the fuck people are. The panels and word bubbles draw your attention to the right places. They used to, almost exclusively, use the four panel gag routine. Now they go for however many panels are needed. There's good composition, good colors, there's even competent shadowing. One of my pet peeves is shitty/nonexistent shadowing. So I guess that's a plus. Here's a thing I made to show how the art improved.
|From Piss to Acceptable: An Art History of Exterminatus Now|
The artist got way better over the years. It seems like he really wants to stop drawing furry bullshit and start doing something more amazing than this comic. He's the kind of guy who never stops improving. I'm just worried the guy's gonna make the characters too emotive. Like, you've got the scale of character expression. On one end is stiff shit. That's what the comic used to be. The other end is over animated shit. That's where it's going. If it stops where it is right now, it'll stay right on the mark.
The humor began as a whimpering wreck, a cacophony of "fuck shit poop rofl" and "blood guts rape lol XD." Now it ain't that bad. You're not guaranteed to enjoy the comic, but some of the newer jokes gave me a chuckle here and there. Garry Webber at least knows how to tell a joke these days. God damn did he suck in the beginning though.
The beginning is a fucking mess. Can't stress this enough. That's why I keep saying it. It was horrific. Fetish fuel on fetish fuel. They seemed to think that sex itself was a punchline. Baffling. They thought violence itself was a punchline too. There was no respect for comedic structure. The only way they managed to make most of this stupidity work was by following it up with a reaction. Seems to be a plague in four panel gag comics, doesn't it. Two panels set up the joke, the third panel has something happen, the fourth panel is a reaction. There was a point where they managed to edge away from this formulaic dickery but it took them years to take the leap into competence.
I could add more examples of this particular blasphemy toward whichever cosmic chucklefucks are in charge of comedy, but that would take up half of the review.
So I'll condense it. Here's some more examples. Using violence as the punchline. Fart joke. Using violence as the punchline. The punchline is they show pornography to children. Using violence as the punchline. Also that quote is neither of their lines. Fucking dumbasses. Using violence as the punchline. Some kind of stupid fetish shit. The punchline is an insult. Joke stolen from the Clerks cartoon. More stupid fetish shit. Using sex and violence as the punchline. Using sex as the punchline. Monty Python references aren't funny you fucking idiots. Monty Python is funny. Referencing them doesn't make their humor rub off on you. Using violence as the punchline.
Sex and violence aren't punchlines. They aren't funny in and of themselves. If you make gags based around them you'll suck. You have to make a gag that just happens to have sex or violence. Even then it's tough as hell to do right without coming off as a window licker. The linked examples fall into this trap. What's worse is they just barely pass the line of qualifying for a joke because of the reactions from the characters (always in the last panel). A few years into the comic's run, they quit the hell out of doing this and remedied it. Now the comic can be funny when Lothar isn't up to bat. When his character comes on the page it's all about Lothar being a fucking terrible character. You can take this any way you want, because I mean to say that Lothar is a fucking terrible character in every respect possible. In fact there was one story arc without Lothar. Guess what. Best story arc in the fucking comic. Had some of the best jokes too.
Other than this it gets wordy sometimes. It's a gag comic. Not goddamn Transmetropolitan. They'll manage to make it so that the gag revolves not around what's said, but how long it is. And it's a punchline they used more than once. It's still a shit joke. It always will be.
Aight, you've got the rat and the dog. Wolf. Dog wolf thing. They're the initial characters. The rat's name is Syrus, nickname "The Virus." The dog wolf thing's name is Eastwood. Syrus is a dumb piece of shit. And he's boring. He can come through, but is more often than not a victim of his own incompetence. Eastwood is pretty much the same deal, but he's a lecher and has arachnophobia, which means that he has more character depth than Syrus.
Then the comic introduces the other two, a cat and an echidna. Because every Sonic the Hedgehog fanfiction needs an echidna for some elusive reason. Garry Webber regrets his choice of species, as seen in the screenshot. The cat's name is Rogue. Rogue is one of them foreign folk. He's not a bad character. In fact, he's the most competent of the group, and doesn't put up with the echidna's bullshit. The echidna's name is Lothar. He is, as described, a fucking terrible character.
Then there's some periphery characters. This weasel dude ain't bad. In fact he's kinda rad. I even made sure to write down his name so I didn't forget him. Simmons. He puts up with a lot of shit in this comic. And he's always on the ball. Guy deserves a medal. The way this comic makes him out to be is that he holds the main characters' organization together. Simmons is sarcastic as a motherfuck. Responsible too. I like that. He needs his own story arc. Even if he turns out to be a villain he'd still probably be my favorite character. His boss is a bear named Schaefer. He might be that kind of bear but it's hard to tell because there's all sorts of fetish crap surrounding the guy. He's a goober too.
You've also got some kind of mascot thing. Which is stupid because mascots suck. Comics don't need a mascot. Fuck mascots. They add fucking nothing. I'm happy the thing hasn't shown up much lately. It's a chao, which is a creature ripped straight from Sonic the Hedgehog. They make it eat a demon and change shape in order to avoid copyright infringement. It needs to be killed off because it's a useless addition to the comic. Like a vestigial organ.
Then there's some idiot cat person. She's a naive fuckup who replaces Rogue for a few dozen pages. She would be as bad as Lothar if they didn't play with her idiocy. But Lothar takes the cake.
Here's the problem with Lothar. See, he's a jackass motherfucking Mary-Sue. He's a dumbass too, but let's focus on the jackass stuff for now. This on its own wouldn't be a problem, there's plenty of jackasses in comics everywhere. It's how they handle his jackassery. He does the worst shit possible. He, on his own, has done more terrible shit to the main cast than all the people they fight put together. He essentially qualifies as a villain. Yet the cast keeps him around. They don't boot him from the group. They recognize how much of a jackass he is, but they don't do anything about it, and they forget everything he's done by the time the next story arc rolls around. The only positive thing I can say about him is he gets shit done. But usually in the most counterproductive way possible. So when Lothar actually manages to do something right, he ends up taking two steps back anyways. And guess what. No other character in the comic cares. Not even Rogue. Lothar is untouchable. He's Garry Webber's pet character and Lothar never has anything bad happen to him. Because when something normally considered bad does happen to him, Lothar comes out on top like it didn't even matter. I've never seen one character single handedly make a comic this bad.
It's not too late to change the comic so drastically that Lothar either doesn't exist in it any more, or that Lothar wasn't such a fucking nebula of rancid jizzom. I don't think that's gonna happen though. It's kind of a shame really, because the humor's not bad on occasion. It used to be the same kind of piss a fourteen year old would put into a comedy. Then it slowly got its feet on the ground and turned out to be kind of okay. I went into the comic thinking that I'd hate the damn thing. Anyone who sees the beginning would probably think the same. If you grit your teeth you can quit hating the complete miscasting of adorable little animals in this comic. After reading the whole thing it turns out that I just hate Lothar. Go figure.
He's such a horrible Mary-Sue that he gets his own section dedicated to explaining just how horrible he is and why he's a Mary-Sue. Check this shit.
Through a serious lapse in judgement they trust him to behave.
- Because of this, they have to stop Lothar from killing someone who said mean words to him, which would ruin delicate diplomatic relations.
No consequences, unless you count the fact that they didn't buy Lothar a hugbox for when he gets upset over mean words. For a dude painted to be such a badass he has some goddamn paper thin skin.
He is then insulted by Rogue, who continues to not put up with Lothar's bullshit. Go Rogue. They still keep Lothar around though.
They just look at him funny.
- Lothar gets angry because they tied him up. They tied him up due to the fact that he gets angry real fucking easily.
They sedate him. Also there's apparently a distinction between man and animal in this comic.
They stop him from killing Lothar.
In this part of the comic the only thing that makes Lothar useful (his cybernetics) is possessed by a demon. They still try to spare his ass and amputate his inorganic body parts in order to avoid killing him.
- So what he does is when they replace the cybernetic limbs that they were forced to cut off, thus sparing his otherwise worthless life when it would have been easier to kill him, is beat their asses.
The guy's just a thankless pissant. A, as mentioned before, spoiled brat. He's an asshole to them all the time. They took the chance to get back at him. Because they hate him. And he hates them. So instead of having some semblance of self control, some inkling of brain matter in that head of his, he goes on a toddler tantrum. What a teammate. A team player. A real buddy pal to have on your side. No consequences, by the way.
- Lothar is willing to put everyone at risk, even himself, just so he can use an inefficient gun. He has a gun in his arm for fuck's sake.
The cat and Lothar are equally stupid. The cat was just a different brand of stupid from Lothar. There's no getting rid of Lothar though. No idea why.
He's a dumbass and it's amazing he can do anything of use. Which isn't much in the first place.
See, it's possible to use Lothar right. They should do this more often. But they probably won't. And that's terrible.
No consequences, they get out of this fine in the very next strip thanks to who else but Lothar. I'll be touching on this later.
No consequences. Actually, dog wolf thing just kind of pokes fun at him. I'm surprised Lothar didn't blow his top on the guy who's making him feel embarrassed.
- There you go. They probably just keep him around because they're afraid Lothar will kill them if they say mean things to him.
What a thin skinned piece of shit. You'd think living a tough life would make you tough. It just made Lothar a little bitch who can't do shit without metal limbs. And instead of being the big man on campus he flips out like a manbaby. There's like zero depth to this guy beyond "always on his period" and "sad troubled past."
Assumedly no consequences.
Lothar's an ass. The biggest ass. The kind of ass that drags on the floor behind a fatty in a scooter. So naturally, Rogue doesn't buy a damn thing he says. It's like Lothar expected, I dunno, Rogue to trust him or something.
What a piss stain. No consequences for this shit by the way. They don't even bond over it or anything like that, they still hate each other just as much later in the comic.
In rare form he manages to actually show restraint and get crunk instead.
No consequences. Also there's some shit about nuns not being people. They'll do this in the comic from time to time. It's so edgy I nearly fell out of my seat.
They can use his shitty personality to comedic effect. They don't always do this and it sucks. Lothar sucks. Fuck Lothar. What the fuck kind of name is Lothar anyways.
Surprisingly no consequences for the ones being assholes to him. It's a miracle he didn't lose it and kill everyone while shouting profanities.
This one's a newer strip. Probably not gonna be any consequences for it. Even if there are it's probably not gonna be pinned on Lothar.
There you go. That's Lothar. And that's not even all of Lothar. That's just a small sample of his behavior. I can't say enough horrible things about him because he's a horrible character. "But oh no it's okay because they explain it away, he didn't have a childhood and bladyfuckingblah." Fuck that noise. It doesn't change the fact that he's the worst part of this comic. Like a malign cyst that only keeps growing and growing. His behavior isn't even the crux of why he's a bad character, it's just icing on the cake. The Mary-Sue shit is where he gets real damn bad.
If Lothar's in a pinch he'll get out of it just fine. The guy faces no consequences for his actions and gets away with being an oversensitive prick. Nobody's allowed to say mean things to him, else he'll try to kill them. He can't fuck up and even when he does something wrong, it's not wrong. Because he's Lothar. Nothing Lothar does is wrong and he's always the center of attention. Good ol' invincible, untouchable, undefeatable, flawless, always-right Lothar.
Let's take a look at assholes who we could contrast Lothar with. Assholes someone wouldn't call a Mary-Sue.
You've got Q, from Star Trek. The guy's an omnipotent asshole. But he has a hammy ego to back up the shit he pulls and faces consequences for his actions. And he can be wrong. Lothar's just a sociopathic asshole with impunity and he never makes false assumptions. Then you've got Belkar, the midget from Order of the Stick. The guy only cares about himself and does what he wants, with limits. The guy'll get tossed in jail if he's caught. Lothar just does what he wants without limit and remains free as a bird. And finally we've got the character Lucifer, from the comic of the same name. He does what he wants and he'll toss anyone under a bus if it suits his goals. But the guy has class. He has tact. He has a plan and isn't completely reactionary. He doesn't throw a hissy fit when he's insulted, he makes people remember not to do it ever again, all while keeping his cool. Lothar has no fucking composure at all and makes no plans. Lothar just fucks shit up and seems to be there only for the purpose of being a violent jackass.
The pattern here is that Lothar is a fucking titan among Mary-Sues. It's septic to the damn comic. He's in dire need of a good bitchslamming.
In the same manner that the webcomic improves slowly, Garry Webber is slowly learning how to not care about bad user comments.
|His Fan Interactions|
Garry Webber used to be a humongous dick. Guy was a total ass when someone was being as stupid as his character, Lothar. He's not as caustic with his audience nowadays. So at least he's slowly, but surely, learning how to not care about the things people say on the internet. If he could improve on anything else I'd say he should try taking a stab at improving Lothar.
The other guys seem okay too. I suspect the main cast of this comic are their fursonas or something. If this is true then the creators don't shitspam it all over the internet. Or it's not true in the first place. Both options are desirable. There's not much drama around them and they're pretty chill judging by their replies to the users. In fact, when I was looking for info on the comic I ran across Alan Graham's twitter account and it turns out he's not a twitter whore. I can dig the guy's attitude, seems legit. The only real drama this comic was involved in was between 2004-2007 when it was first discovered by Something Awful trolls, and later by 4chan trolls. Both groups spammed the site's forum with gore and porn until it was temporarily shut down, or trolled more subtly by pretending to be regular users and either calling people furries or starting pointless arguments about religion, science and politics with a special focus on trying to draw in Webber into the argument and watch him lose his shit. Thankfully, him and the rest of the crew now have a little more self control.
They're a bunch of okay dudes and they seem intent on making the webcomic suck as little as possible. Let's hope they keep at it.
The comic's tolerable nowadays. Pretty much everything about it is improving except for Lothar. If you wanna read it start from here. It's the beginning of the arc where they got their shit together. Plus you won't have to run the gauntlet that is the first half of this thing. Waterfalls of piss, hail of shit, and gales of body stank. All this and more awaits those who dare to start from the beginning. Seriously don't read the first half. By reading this review you'll probably know enough about the comic to get what's going on. Just be warned there's always some fetish-y shit every so often. They barely manage to make it work because it's never really the focus (like it used to be) when it pops up. But it's there. Lurking. Always. If the implication of cartoon animal sex sickens you don't read it.
Overall I'd say the comic is what it was going for. Furry Warhammer 40,000. I'd imagine that if one were able to regret a success, "furry Warhammer 40,000" would qualify. Nowadays it looks like they're trying to get away from that. But they can never escape the furry Warhammer 40,000 thing. That's a stain they can't erase from the comic without erasing the comic itself. Who would have ever thunk, if your comic was born of a bad idea, it would stick with the comic for its duration. Cutesy cartoons, sex, violence, and swearing. One of these things is not like the other.
If they killed Lothar permanently, without plans for a retcon or revival, I'd have this shit bookmarked as soon as I found out. It can actually be funny sometimes. I don't think that's gonna happen though so I'll just wait for the thing to keep improving and see where it goes. The creators seem to want to improve it as much as possible. And that's a good thing.