Pebble Version

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Original review author: Sasamy
Webcomic name: Pebble Version
Author: "Josiah Lebowitz"
Start Date August 11, 2013
End Date Ongoing
Genre Sprite Comic (I guess you could call that a genre)
Defining Flaw God-awfully long and boring.
Things that are fucking terrible about this webcomic: It's boring to look at and boring to look through, then goes that extra mile by being bland.
Things that aren't terrible but could use improvement: The strips are only four panels each, so it’ll only eat up two years of your life.
Summary: Zzzzz.

Ratings summary:
Art Wiki.png

All sprite pictures. Need I say more?

Storyline: Wiki.png

Reading this comic is like playing a video game, only without the fun.

Characters: Wiki.png

Two Pokémon video game sprites who are hardly worth calling "characters".

Miscellaneous Details: Wiki.png

The story, such as it is, goes on forever.

Overall: Wiki.png

Extraordinarily boring and bland, and as entertaining as trying to read through an entire schematic diagram. Go read the book War And Peace instead; it won't take nearly as long and will be more interesting to boot.



Background

Quick survey, everyone who looks at a sprite sheet and goes “This'll make up for my inability to produce talent!” raise your hands. Good, now meet me in the art review.

Yes, this sure takes an extreme amount of talent.


As for the rest of you- Oh, wait, everyone who actually said “sprites take talent too!” Close any and all e-mails, instant messages, or registrations to the Bad Webcomics Wiki. Alright, now let’s continue. I read this comic back in my Pokémon daze, which is usually around when they release a new generation, someone on the forums suggested it, and since I've already gotten through the majority of strips, I took a shot. That didn't stop the hundred or so strips I hadn't read from being incredibly boring. Y'see, the thing about Pebble Version, is that it's long, a behemoth even, over 1800 strips long, and the way the characters, story, and design are done, makes it incredibly boring.

Story and Plot

The story follows Brendan and May, those little avatars you’ll play as (the boy Brendan if you’re a guy, and the girl May if you’re a really creepy guy) as they journey through the third generation of Pokémon, sprite comic style. By sprite comic style, I mean they walk. Oh god do they walk. The plot’s basically what you would get if you actually played the game, and despite being damn near six years in the making, Our plucky trainers have just recently gotten their third badge of eight. Expect Josiah to keel before they actually make it to the climax. There's another plot going on about some other organization that Josiah added in himself, those guys pop up once every hundred strips or so, so the only thing we know about them is that they want Mew, and they have problems with lights

Downfall

Under normal circumstances you could probably get through this comic. “Just a sprite comic, no worries, little Scotch will fix me right up.” That is until you realize that Josiah plans to show you every route, every Pokédex entry, every pointless battle. Even the ones with fucking Magikarps. Most of the time he’ll skip straight to the end, but even that can take two or three strips (When a Pokémon doesn’t spontaneously evolve that is), add to the fact that he even bothers to show you all the pointless little things you can do in the game, like contest, fishing, and treasure hunting. Suddenly it feels like you’re just watching someone else play the game while you look over their shoulder.

That’s when the comic’s unbearable.

Art review

Read the comic and see tons of strips that look exactly like this.

Alright all you spriters, as you like to be called, I’d like to have a word with you. You know how you replace art you worked on with sprites other people worked on, then use them to show the world your superb sense of humor/who you think is the true one true pairing/whatever the fuck? Fucking stop it. You can’t do it, it’s just not possible. Try as you might you won’t be able to make your characters convey any emotion besides fright and unamusement. Pebble Version, being the best (worst?) at what it does, goes one step beyond by doing practically nothing with the sprites it’s given. See that little dark pixel that’s on Brendan’s eye? That’s his eyelid, he shows you his disdain by slightly lowering his eyelids, and he’ll do it a lot. Even May gets in on the single pixel action! Of course, what would bland unimaginative emotions be without the classic anime sweat drop? Josiah does use blurs for whenever someone throws their balls (hawhehawhehaw), or whenever Pokémon are killing each other. Both of these do little more than set up jokes, and make battle sequences look retarded. Probably the best reason I can think of to never use Pokémon sprites for a sprite comic is that they can’t do shit. You wouldn't even know that it just kicked him in the face if the trainers didn't have to blurt out every goddamn command to their little death critters. Pokémon sprites are a death sentence for a sprite comic, because one, you won't be able to actually make them battle (Y'now, that thing the Pokémon games are about?) and two, because if you're using Pokémon sprites, chances are everyone will be able to guess what your writing's like. Speaking of which...

Writing review

The writing, like its sis the art, manages to be bland and uninteresting. Strips tend to be dominated by text bubbles due in part to the panels being small and the characters having diarrhea mouth. Jokes tend to fall under either "hilarious" Pokédex entries motion blur jokes or Brendan pointing out plot holes. There’s a bunch of other running gags that follow the same routine, which may force a slight “heh” out of someone, maybe. As for characters, it’s like your standard case of "Designate character trait" then "Roll with it". Brendan’s existence hinders on “point out all the Pokémon physics and snark about them”, this despite the fact he grew up in Johto, where the same physics applied. There isn't a thing he seems to be able to do without bitching about how things in his world of mutants created by a god that is one of said mutants that shaped the universe with his non-existent thousand hands shouldn't work that way. May’s a bit more interesting, though, that’s like wood being more interesting than cardboard. She’s Brendan’s Mrs. Exposition, so she explains all the Pokémon physics for him to snark about. One thing I liked particularly about her is in this strip. She seems to actually take an interest in things occasionally, and doesn't immediately try to piss in someone's tent like Brendan, who does it to her right there, then he does it again. There’s also Xain and Cali, their rivals. Screentime for them is either A) Being lost or B) Being dicks to Brendan and May. They’re rivals, so I guess they’re supposed to be secondary characters and assholes, but since whenever they're on screen they either perform the aforementioned dickery or be lost, they might as well be background characters, or one of the trainers of the strip. Trainers of the strip is the term I coined (read: ripped off from the guys who coined the term "trainer of the day" for the anime) for the men and women that Brendan and May feel they have to talk to, because the Pokémon physics say so. Like in the games, they have no personality other than that they will constantly help badger you with whatever information they feel is relevant, even when it's not. In here, it's taken to its logical(?) extreme. For comedy, I guess. Doesn't really get a laugh so much as it does waste more time that could be spent developing the main characters or their equally flat rivals. It's also another reason why this comic has a fucking huge archive, so they don't help at all, really. Ironic.


Since Josiah insist of showing you EVERYTHING, it takes one hell of a long time for shit to get done, or get anywhere. Currently there’s the mystery of Brendan’s Mew, the mysterious organization that wants to catch Mew, the side plot about Team Aqua and Team Magma from the game and the actual fucking plot of the comic. Each of these plots get about 5% of development per 100 strips. If you bothered to do the math (why?) then you'll notice that 640 strips have been about all of these plots combined. What's the other 249 (Well, as of this writing) been used for? Stupid shit, mostly. You'll get a tsunami of Pokédex and trainer jokes for the first couple fifty or so strips, then something will happen to advance the plot of one of the aforementioned plots. More stupid shit, something happens to advance the plot of another plot. The second plot advanced is usually about the mysterious organization, but the most we know about them so far is that they're apparently run by vague green and gray blobs. Unless they're Jesse and James of Team Rocket, then the big reveal will most definitely be underwhelming, and if they are Jesse and James, I called it. So we've got boring main characters, boring rivals, plots that aren't going anywhere, and jokes that aren't funny. What did we learn here?...Well, we learned that.

Author biography

I don’t know much about Josiah, but he seems to be a pretty cool dude, despite the fact he goes the typical route and whores out for donations. One weird thing I can't make out is his About Me page. For some reason, I think there's Final Fantasy stats on it...Weird...anyways, the only thing he's done that should be frowned upon is asking for donations. Shame on you, Mr. Lebowitz.

Conclusion

This comic is the epitome of bland sprite comics. The jokes are bland, the characters are bland, the sprites are bland and the plot is moving at a snail's pace. You'd be better off waiting until Josiah Lebowitz XVI finishes the comic, then waiting until some brave soul ventures into the massive archive to snip out all the jokes and pointless side quest.

Links