|Original review author:||MakarovJAC|
|Webcomic name:||Paradox (Hosting site Smackjeeves has been shut down.)|
|Start Date||November 8, 2007|
|End Date||August 28, 2013. The author indicated that she has stopped the comic itself but plans to reuse her characters.|
|Genre||Drama, Fantasy, Fanservice, Comedy.|
|Defining Flaw||The author's rather annoying tendency to leave plot holes, reason holes, logic holes, and her belief that the only thing people are worried about is seeing more bishie sex. Also, slight traces of Mary-Sueism.|
|Things that aren't terrible||This. Rather mundane, but after watching this pointless sex over-abuse it was actually refreshing.|
OK, firstly, I'd like to apologize to my fellow partners at the BWW community for taking so long to finish this review. Sorry, but it was quite awful.
We first heard of this comic when another random visitor to the forums gave us the lead. The first comments on the thread made claims describing a comic with endless wasted potential, that it had squandered in exchange for a crappy sitcom comedy and anime cliches.
To be honest, the result was far worse than expected. And thanks to that it took me almost a year to complete this review...Oh! by the way, the comic is yet again another awful contribution from Smackjeeves...
-Gryphoneer about Smackjeeves
Ok, this is little bit more complex compared to what has usually been writing regarding comics that sucked from the very beginning. And I would like to have a precise point to identify as the genuine downfall, and not end this section with the classy, yet superficial: "It always sucked since the beginning". But that requires a little explanation, so pay attention.
Many times, noob authors, due to a lack of understanding of the world around them, tends to work on their own projects completely ignorant of how far are they pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable to the public or even logical. Some times, if this is done by highly capable author, this might end up well and even prove how creative that person can be. But this can also end in an artistic disaster when the artist's entire internal library of reference material consists mostly of things like anime and bad sitcoms, like I suspect is the case in this comic.
So where does this comic fall apart? From here onward. Apparently this woman has not seen enough war movies to know that there are no "maybes" in war. Maybe the escapee was about to surrender? Or maybe he was gaining his trust to play a trick on him and steal her gun? Maybe he was planning to use her as human shield? And there is more of this. So that pointy eared pansy is useless... Why does no one notice he isn't following orders? Why didn't his superior officer do something about one of his soldiers being an incompetent moron? What the hell is even going on, and why should I care when it's obvious that non of the characters do? The point is that this kind of stuff makes it vary hard to take this war thing seriously.
Story (and cardboard cut out cast)
Paradox is about an alternate world where humans share the only known, nameless super continent, inhabited by several other species, most of them fully humanoid. And just like it is in many stories with an underline social criticism, WE are the ones to trigger a conflict with the other species, driven by the belief we are superior to them.
Add a touches of fantasy elements, such as gods, ghosts, demons, magic and other junk clashing in a way that is devoid of any internal logic, and you end up with the current descriptions:
The main plot revolves around... it's hard to tell. Up to chapter 11 I was following a plot about two war prisoners turned slaves, "patronized" by a rich, snobby, know-it-all sort of lady, who are immersed in a large scale conflict between their nations and some haunting soul eating demon. I stopped reading not because of this moronic and impenetrable plot, but because of how Shea managed to deviate from the main subject by forcefully shoving in pointless comedy and bishie sex. I suppose that after they acknowledge their true "enemy" is when the main plot successfully takes off. But by then I have already had to slug through so much copy/pasted anime humor and ill-fitting silliness that I can not bring myself to care about the plot. Oh, and we only reach this point...
Four long years past the beginning of the comic.
Here is the main cast:
Tommy: He's an Airdan, which for practical matters, is a tall pale human with either natural cherry-red or black hair, red eyes, and sharp teeth. He's a sex fiend, and will, without notice, sexually harass whoever he craves at that moment. He is indeed so gay that most of his time on screen that isn't spent doing something plot related, is spent focusing on him being somebody's bitch. Other than that there's actually nothing to summarize about his behavior, personality or anything else. Oh, and he's also the son of the king, who hates him for being a gay. sob, sob, sob
Dake: He's a Kokili, which is short for "desert-dwelling Mexicans with Disney-like dwarf noses, pointy ears, and light blue hair". He's a soldier. Specifically a sniper. He has a love-hate relationship with Tommy, even though he actually craves for the guy's dick. It's surprising that he is a sniper, since he's undisciplined and stupid to the point he can't properly tie his own shoes... Seriously How the FUCK could a SNIPER not tie his shoelaces properly!? Also, for a tough, cool guy sort of character he strangely has nightmare about clams. Other than that there is nothing else to say about him.
Eila: Shea's wish fulfillment self insert. She does share a lot of traits with the author and is also nuts for Tommy. For some reason, when shopping for slaves she chooses sassy girl (Dake) over Tommy even though in later chapters she has the hots for him. She's rich, she's never seen working, or doing any other thing than slacking off, or squishing Tommy dry... it's funny how poorly self inserts reflect on their creators.
So basically the characters are as flat as a Mars bar in Missy Eliot's back pocket.
Ok, from day one the art is quite awful to look at. Over a hundred pages later, the art has actually improved by adding dynamic shading. For a moment it may fool you into thinking there is some sort of quality here. But don't fall for it.
Perspective, body proportions, foreshortening... they never got around to working on those parts. Once she had the dynamic shades down she marched into self improvement's office, and slammed her letter of resignation on it's desk.
The world resembles steampunk at times with a shit-ton of stuff completely out of context, such as: world war 2-era bombers, punks, semi-automatic pistols, modern day female clothing, etc...sigh Fuck consistency, right?
Forget about art in this comic, it only gets worse with each passing panel. My eyes just started bleeding from looking at it and I have to take a break from writing because I can't see through the blood.
Just look for yourselves:
So far, every character here has no actual key traits to summarize. If you're a novice author, remember: BACK-STORIES AREN'T WHAT REPRESENTS YOUR CHARACTERS! BUT HAVING THEM LEARN SOMETHING FROM THEM, AND THEN, STICKING TO IT! The closest thing to a definition to their behaviors is multiple personality disorder, since they can't act like the same person for more than two pages. Many of the changes are played for comedy, but this is done SO often, and the characters are already SO inconsistent that instead of being funny it's just more confusing.
As if that wasn't enough, the whole world's consistency seem based on the author's three minutes worth of research about how war works. How is it that in the middle of a war, more precisely in the middle of a bombardment, can Tommy send messages to his father using a human controlled telegram? Aren't humans and the Airdans at war with each other?
I can't tell whether this was meant to be played for laughs; or if it is, indeed, a serious plot point. Regardless, the former would be plain dumb and unfunny (people are dying... ha ha time for more gay jokes). Or she's just stupid. Sorry (ok, maybe not), but if that's the best thing she could come up with to move the story along, than her writing talent is non-existent.
Speaking of the king, it's common sense to think that the most important political figure of anything would be heavily guarded. So how come a Kirov-wannabe gets to the king's castle unnoticed? Answer: King needs his moment of "badassery". Not only does his dog gets him a rocket launcher, but for some reason the crew of the Kirov-wannabe were not prepared for assaulting the king's castle. Like it was too tiring to carry some guns and bombs just in case the place is guarded, or in case they need to take down a RL-carrying pooch. Were they even aware of where were they were going? Even if they knew the king has no security (for some reason)... What exactly were they planning to kill him WITH if they didn't bring weapons?
OK, so maybe by now you might have wondered why is this called "Paradox" and arrived at the conclusion that it's due to that characters paradoxically self contradicting personalities. But a second theory is that it was in some kind of an attempt to sound deep and science fictiony, like one of those shows called things like "The Vortex", "Everything is Illuminated" and the likes... because you know how philosophical gay jokes can be.
Spoilers (as if anyone cared)
Many of the humanoid species do believe in gods, and others practices magic. However, humans and Airdans use and develop technology, shaking up some religious beliefs in the process. Basically its a crappy attempt at social commentary. Will the beliefs of man survive these modern times that bring about progress in the knowledge of our universe? Should faith in a higher power be abandoned in light of new discoveries? That is quite deep. Actually, it's not. Especially when it's presented this way:
"Gwad is in heaven + Science discovers Space = Gwad does not exist" = Q.E.D
Good job at mixing limited knowledge about medieval mythical beliefs with actual theology and modern science. Three things you have simultaneously proven to know next to nothing about.
Do these characters actually believe that after flying upwards for several miles they would be right in front of heaven's doors? It seems so. Even ignorant pagans were way more clever than that! They were aware of GODDAMN space!
But~Hey, who cares? FREE GAY PORN!
I was planning to do some research on her, but then I realized it's unimportant. She doesn't seem like a bad person and probably hasn't been a part of any internet drama. So, my interest in her only go as far as her comic, not the person who made it. Besides, this review is taking longer than expected.
Oops, change of plans.
As you might know now, this comic played heavily on guy-on-guy smut for over 5 years before Shea decided to give it an actual plot. Checking the Author section at the comic's site will lead you to a rather unimportant picture of Shea, and more prominently, a little "auto biography" of hers.
So basically, this girl is just another Humon. Posting her home made porn on the internet and rubbing it in our faces.
Oh good... he is also under-aged.
It's totally nonsensical. The base of the plot has potential, but the author doesn't really care about the plot. She's more interested in anime humor, gay sex jokes, and trivialization of sexual harassment. The steampunk genre is constantly ripped off for the sake of maintaining "The rule of cool", or maybe because the author has no idea about what a B-29 bomber looks like and figures she will just make shit up instead of Googling it.
My thoughts about this are that this comic lacks the creativity and effort that needs to be put into shaping the world it tries to portray. This produces a comic that is nothing but sexual wish fulfillment and nonsense. Gay sex is what the story revolves around, it's what drives it, and in the end it will be what finishes it off... soon we hope.
UPDATE: Smackjeeves has been shut down, and this webocmic was wiped with it.