|here in the "Reactions" section.|
|Original review author:||MegaRose|
|Author:||The author has requested that we don't use his real name in this article. Fair enough, so I've replaced every instance of his name with "Ol' Rob Z" which is harder to trace back to him.|
|Start Date:||July 10, 2006|
|End Date:||August 8, 2007|
|Defining Flaw:||Total lack of originality.|
UPDATE- Shortly after this review was written, the author took the entire comic down. Aw, man.
I first found out about this comic through TV Tropes, and I'm pretty sure either the author himself or a very close friend added the mention. It's only fitting that Legendary was linked on a website dedicated to pop culture clichés, because Ol' Rob Z hits upon every single RPG cliché in the snarky, insufferable way that only EVERY SINGLE RPG COMIC PROTAGONIST can do. If you like role-playing games, you've probably already read RPGworld, 8-bit Theater, and other similar comics that have been famous for years. If you've read those, then you don't need to read Legendary, because you ALREADY HAVE.
Story and Plot
Legendary is a comic that takes place within a generic PlayStation-era RPG. The arbitrary main character is a boring and bland white mage named Lionel, who follows around his more capable friend Antonio on an ill-defined quest to do...something. The initial quest is derailed by a predictable overthrow of a monarchy, forcing them to team up with a sassy princess and a mute godmoder. Other party members are introduced along the way, but the updates end abruptly before we can get a feel for them. Some ham-fisted foreshadowing tells us that this ragtag bunch of stick figures are meant to save the world, but apparently Zakheim got bored before he could get that far.
If you really want to know how the story ends, just play a Final Fantasy game and replace all the characters with sarcastic dudes with awkward facial hair and a bluebird dressed up like Princess Zelda.
Although the writing in Legendary has always been bad, the comic's terribleness became obvious when its creator made the brilliant choice of redoing the entire archive and all future strips in the style of The Order of the Stick. According to commentary in the archives, Legendary used to be drawn with colored pencil. Although I can't seem to find any of the original strips, the switch to a completely unoriginal art style makes it painfully clear that Legendary is nothing more than a pale imitation of better webcomics.
Although I can't seem to find any kind of blog or personal website for Ol' Rob Z, the comments he leaves on his archived strips tell us a lot about him. This guy was in high school when he wrote this strip, and it shows. Only a high school kid would think even a single person on the internet would care what music he's listening to while they read his comic. The comic isn't even ABOUT music. Hopefully ol' Rob Z has matured since he stopped making Legendary. He seems like a fairly normal guy, so chances are he found something more constructive to do with his time, like going to college.
Please take a quick look at the most recent (as of this writing) page of the popular Dungeons and Dragons webcomic The Order of the Stick. Now look at this Legendary strip. Does that look familiar? Now take note that Legendary started in 2006 and switched to its current style a few months in, while OotS has been running since 2003, and has always had that look. That's right, Legendary's art style is a complete rip of the look that Rich Burlew invented.
Some people like Order of the Stick, and others don't. Whatever your feelings about the art style, it is obvious that the artist knows something about graphic design. He varies his panel sizes, places characters and objects on a panel with consideration to composition, and keeps his word bubbles neatly at the top of each panel (exceptions apply, but usually to the earlier pages). Legendary tends to make every panel a basic square, scatter word bubbles all over the page, and focus on characters in ways that show off their awkward facial hair and poorly etched wrinkles. Even near the end of the strip's life, this does not change.
Also, Rich Burlew knows how to use Adobe Illustrator. Ol' Rob Z tends to zoom in too close to make things look any good, where it's easy to spot little places where lines overlap weird or don't connect right (look at the hands in panel 4). Also, check out the awkwardly curved lines used to depict pant legs, and the shamelessly lazy two-tone backgrounds. Order of the Stick may make Penny Arcade look like the Sistine Chapel, but Legendary makes Order of the Stick look like Penny Arcade.
In short, Legendary is a cheap foreign bootleg of Order of the Stick.
The writing in Legendary is no more unique than its art style. When not using blatant references and god-awful puns, Legendary doles out sparkling gems like 'Welcome to
Corneria Dharnel' and "Treasure chests come from pirates!" Keep in mind that every stolen joke in Legendary is supposed to make fun of some aspect of actual RPGs. That means, even when used by the original writers, they were never actually original to begin with. Legendary's jokes are like hand-me-down underwear from your aunt.
Setting aside the unoriginal punch lines, Legendary's plot and characters are pretty bland at best. Apparently the object of the game is to save the world from the evil traitor king of a race of bird-men creatively referred to as avian or bird-men. The only real villain revealed so far is a completely generic usurper whose only personality trait is being mean to the king he overthrew. The main characters aren't exactly breakout stars either. A quick breakdown:
Lionel is a male white mage with a terrible adolescent moustache. Because every RPG parody comic has to have an insufferably sarcastic fourth-wall-breaker, Lionel does nothing but question completely banal bullshit like the rate of random encounters. Despite being the head of the party, he has no personality beyond being an irritating chatterbox.
Antonio is a sword guy with a terrible adolescent goatee. He seems both smarter and more mature than Lionel, but does not get to be the party leader, probably because Lionel is the author's way of slathering the comic with his witty observations about hit points or whatever the fuck. Antonio is pretty much a whitewashed carbon copy of The Order of the Stick's Roy Greenhilt. It's sometimes implied that Lionel and Antonio are sweaty butt-buddies.
Sarive/Vania is the girl. Sometimes she dresses like a French maid, and sometimes she dresses like Link, and sometimes she dresses like Zelda! She is also the princess of the bird things. Her main purpose is to be snippy and question everyone. Every so often she lapses into feminine emotion and starts weeping about her tragic backstory.
Carnahan is a ninja elf. His main shtick is that he never speaks more than three words at a time, except at key plot points. This is both a blessing and a curse, because although the dialogue in Legendary is boring and cumbersome enough without him speaking, Carnahan's silence does nothing to advance neither his character nor the plot. Too many of his lines are idiotic Mary Sue bragging, like "I'm THAT good!" and in the terrible drawn-out battles, all his attacks are considerably stronger and more complex than anyone else's. I'm not sure if Zakheim has a ninja fetish or an elf fetish, but we can all tell he's aroused.
Two other party members are introduced near the end of the strip's archive, but neither Hemlock nor Algernon have been developed at all since the author decided to stop creating Legendary in 2007 (thank God).
In a nutshell, Legendary is the same as every other RPG parody comic on the web, but without the effort of making up all those jokes and character archetypes for itself. There isn't a single element of the plot, art, or characterization that isn't cliché or stolen. Zakheim isn't even very good at stealing jokes, as he manages to make them all worse. His idea of a filler strip is criminally terrible. Legendary is obviously the work of a bored high school kid who thinks Comic Genesis is LiveJournal and that PlayStation loading sounds are funny. He tries to be hip about the failures of his comic by lamp shading them, but there is no excuse for his laziness and his shittiness. The greatest tragedy here is that I can't find a single glimmer of originality in the entire comic. If Legendary had just one thing, one character or one punch line that was fresh and unique, maybe I could say that Zakheim's comicking skills can be saved. Maybe he's actually a good artist and writer. Maybe he's terrible on epic levels of fail. We will never know, because he brings nothing to the internet that we haven't already seen.
Legendary is a complete waste of effort and bandwidth. It seriously has no reason to exist, because every little part of it has already existed for years in better comics. Do yourself a favor and reread RPGworld instead of touching Legendary.
- The last surviving vestige of this webcomic.