Panthera

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Original review author: Groggarioth
Webcomic name: Panthera
Author: D. Z. McRoy, Jeffery "jeffuk38" Kan, Jon "Pixellated" Bennett
Start Date: October 28, 2008
End Date: Ongoing
Genre: Drama, Adventure, Sci-fi
Defining Flaw: Bad artwork, with bland characters and a cliché'd plot lead this to a spiraling face plant towards the center of the earth.

Rating Summary
Art Wiki.pngWiki.png

While the faces are all the same, and the anatomy is slightly wonky, it is still far, FAR, better than most of the shit I have seen. So yeah, two stars.

Storyline: Wiki.png

I do not give a crap about your wacky high-school hi-jinks. Come back when your story is worth caring about.

Characters: Wiki.png

They're progressive thinkers, I think? One of the characters is raised by two gay men, and another is Korean. That's really all I've got.

Overall: Wiki.png

This comic is so Goddamned bland that I can't give it any stars, but neither can I think of a good reason to give it zero stars. Put it down as 0.5.



Background

PantheraHeaddesk.gif

It is a testament to man that the greatest clichés can become the most terrible story ideas, and the worst ideas for stories can become so great as to influence as generation. Take Avatar: The Last Airbender for example. The show is riddled with clichés: the whole thing with the four elements, a slowly increasing five man band of heroes, too many jerks with hearts of very tarnished gold, etc. And yet, the show starts good, and remains good all the way through because the idea, although cliché'd, is delivered excellently, the characters are relatable (their struggles on the other hand, wooooo), and the villains, even the one-shots, are understandable and multi-faceted.

Compare it to something like Captain Planet and the Planeteers a show with a similar themes, teens, with the powers of the elements vs. powerful people whose only goal is to fuel their self-interests and laugh maniacally in darkened rooms. Yet Avatar is still widely regarded as the better of the two shows because, at its heart, Captain Planet was a mess, with unlikable characters, stupid powers (HEART!!!!), and a message, which worthwhile on its own, was delivered in such a way as to make the shows seem worse for its inclusion.

Why am I starting this review with a comparison of two popular cartoons? It's because Panthera is trying to be these two shows, along with a healthy dash of Animorphs and a light dusting of X-Men.

Downfall

You know, at some point I need to finish the 9 levels of Webcomic Hell. I've got everything up to and including level 7. This comic falls directly into level 3. Its worst sin is that it is bland. Pure blandness. Let’s make a list of how bland it is:

• four-man band – check.
• Each person has the ability to control just one element in the most boring way possible – check.
• Takes place in high school – check (seriously I have got to attend an American high school if I ever want superpowers).
• One of the characters is gay or bisexual – check.
• Somebody has a dark past – check.
• Science and the government are evil or not to be trusted – check.
• Two of the characters are related or in a relationship – check. Hell, double check this one.

I've gone horribly off topic here, but that’s the problem with this comic: it is as dull as fucking dishwater. Hell, dishwater is more interesting. There are complicated fluid motion physics involved with dishwater. Here, the source of the powers is a serum which is explained as "Magic".

For most people, that would be the downfall. The creators explain so much without actually saying anything, kinda like MGS4 now that I think about it, and you are just left with questions that are answered in the most disappointing fashion possible.

For me, the downfall is here on this page. Watch the middle four strips, where our main character, Taylor, is playing dodge ball.

1. The brown haired kid yells at her and throws the ball (smooth move, announce your attack to your target).
2. Taylor catches the ball in a stiff, poorly-drawn motion (looking at her hand, the ball really should have bounced straight up from her palm and disqualified her).
3. She throws the ball back with her opposite hand, which isn't a big crime, but when you think about what the purpose of the scene is, this shows that rather than a single quick catch-throw motion, she caught it and spent 5 minutes faffing around choosing which hand she would use to throw it.
4. The blond kid who was dicking around in the background gets hit in the chest with the ball, reacting like he got blasted by a shotgun at point-blank range, while the brown haired kid stands around looking completely retarded (so she didn't just fail to hit her target, but she failed to hit someone who didn't even fucking move).

Story and Plot

I am very tempted to say that there is no story here, just a string of loosely connected plot-points, but that wouldn't be fair, so instead, here is the story summary:

Taylor Quinn moves to a new town, gets abducted while at high school, gets injected with a super-secret super serum, gets the ability to turn into a jaguar with the power to control water, has the person who gave the serum turn on her and openly become a super villain, and then the government steps in and turns her into a teenage secret agent.

All of this takes five chapters over two years, and basically nothing has changed. None of the characters have evolved in any way, they have learned nothing, done nothing, and at this rate, will probably continue to do nothing.

So yeah, the comic is pretty boring apart from the super villain mentor, he’s kinda awesome, but only because of his devil goatee.

Art review

PantheraSameFace.gif

Same face, same face, they all have the same face
This is a planet full of plastic surgery clones
Whether fashion, gender, clique or race
Nobody has a face to call their own

(read this in a sing-song voice).

Seriously, they even suffer from same face when they’re in feline form.

The art is seriously boring, much like the rest of this comic, although it is at least competent enough that I could finish this whole thing in one sitting. If I had to point out the other flaws, the second most prevalent flaw after the clone apocalypse would be the fact that the proportions are consistently bad and the foreshortening is remarkably poor, and the third, constant scribbly lines that are supposed to be crease lines in clothing and hair, but just come off as unfinished construction lines.

While it is decent at best, the art is still scruffy and unpolished, requiring more time and practice for it to be good.

Side note: while I can’t actually tell, nearly every single blonde-haired character has blue eyes, Aryan propaganda or coincidence, you decide.

Writing review

I don’t want to do this. This is the blandest writing I have ever encountered. It isn't bad. It isn't good. It is just so Goddamned boring that I can feel my brain slowly leaking out the hatch on the back of my head before it heads to Tijuana. I honestly cannot say anything about this writing because it isn't bad in the sense that it does the job of writing: it progresses the plot, answers any questions the reader has (yeah, it answers them poorly, but still answers them), and shows the personality of the characters (what little personality they have), but does nothing else. It is the most basic form of writing possible, with the most basic possible characters.

Although there is a reason for this, the writer D. Z. McRoy originally wrote another story about shape-shifting felines. Yeah, I can just feel the originality oozing from the screen, or that may the writers fetish. Ick.

PantheraCharacters.gif
The black guy turns into a panther, of course.

Author biography

The writer, D. Z. McRoy, is a Chicago based journalist. I can’t find any dirt on him, so other than being unoriginal, he gets a free pass.

The main artist, Jeffery "Jeffk38uk" Kan, is responsible for creating a planet of clones in poorly fitted clothing. He has a Furaffinity page, a Deviantart page, and many others, where there is porn of the furry variety, so yeah, he draws furry porn. Big fucking whoop.

And listed under support staff is the designer Jon "Pixellated" Bennett, who is apparently responsible for the site design. In that case, to him I say put the comic navigation in a headbar and footbar. Every other comic on the internet does. Do you think they do that just because it looks nice and neat? No, it’s for easier navigation. Try it sometime.

Conclusion

Now that I've got that out of my system, I can finish up. This comic is just straight up bland. It is not worth the hate of Sonichu, or as purely unappealing as A game of Fools, but it should not be on the internet. Maybe if it had started five years earlier, with a better artist and writer, but not now. It’s just too late for it to be good or original, which is at least partly a shame.

Links