The Legend of Spyro: Zonoya’s Revenge
|Original review authors:||SpazzticBunnyhood and TheCowboyBatman|
|Webcomic name:||The Legend of Spyro: Zonoya’s Revenge|
|Author:||Shalone Howard “shaloneSK”|
|Start Date:||Counting the prequel strips, February 1, 2009.|
|End Date:||April 29, 2014.|
|Genre:||Essentially Lion King 2 but with Dragons.|
|Defining Flaw:||Stolen, cliched plotlines, more ‘endings’ than The Return of the King, a whole gaggle of spotlight stealing Sues, and writing so confusingly stupid it almost feels like it’s in another language.|
SpazzticBunnyhood: Since I have a knack for finding and reading bad webcomics, a friend of mine (TheCowboyBatman) brought shaloneSK's work to my attention. It's her Fancomic Archnemesis—what I call a fancomic/fanfiction so bad that it frustrates you beyond what you can describe with words and makes you want to rip it to shreds at any given opportunity. (I'm looking at you, The Chronicles of Loth.) Anyway, since it was her Fancomic Archnemesis, I figured it wouldn't be right to write the review without her, so today's review is written by the both of us.
TheCowboyBatman: I remember discovering this comic years ago and finding it somewhat… if not enjoyable than at least interesting at first. But after about the second arc is where the complaints really began to set in. Honestly, the whole thing is so boring and repetitive that I can literally reread it several times and still not remember a thing. You can sum up just about every arc with Villain Sue executes evil plan, Spyro and Co. stop said evil plan from happening, and Villain Sue is inexplicably redeemed by the end, only to revert back to her old antics in the very next arc. Lather, rinse, and repeat. I probably wouldn’t have even given this comic a second thought, if it hadn’t been for the attitude of the author herself, but don't worry. We’ll get to that later.
- So, Wait, What is "Spyro" Exactly?
Spyro the Dragon was a hit platformer on the PS1 developed by Insomniac. It mainly centered around Spyro the Dragon collecting treasures through different themed worlds with tongue-and-cheek characters. Later, the series was rebooted (and retconned) in 2006 with a more fantasy epic tone, called "The Legend of Spyro" and developed by Sierra. Said reboot got several Hollywood Stars (Elijah Wood, Gary Oldman, David Spade, Mark Hamill, etc.) to voice the characters. In particular, they gave Spyro a girlfriend (Cynder), who becomes Spyro's wife in this comic.
This comic has a lot of turns for the worst, especially since I think it stopped being decent after the very first strip. However, the point where it becomes irredeemably stupid is when shaloneSK shamelessly rips off the Lion King 2.
Story and Plot
This comic comprised of a series of story arcs that sometimes bleed into one another. With that said, let’s begin.
- Spyro’s Back - The Tweenage Series
Apparently, our story starts out with Spyro and the gang before they finished puberty. Ember, the first hinted love interest for Spyro, notices Cynder, the dragon who actually becomes Spyro’s love interest. Ember isn’t happy about Spyro’s new girlfriend, and tries to win him back through childish stupidity, like switching herself with Cynder when Spyro’s gonna kiss her, and racing Cynder for Spyro’s love (because THAT’S how love works). Ember loses both times to Cynder…even though Cynder seemingly cheated on the second task. However, since the Spyro-Recolour, Flame, exists, Ember isn’t written to be completely unsympathetic/insane, and she settles for him. Overall, kinda bad, but mostly harmless.
- A New - The Kidnapping the Sue-Spawn Saga
Our main story starts several years after the last few strips, where we are introduced to our first major Sue offender in this comic, Nina, the daughter of Spyro and Cynder. While flailing around like a total doofus one day, she happens to bump into Ash, who is the spawn of Ember and Flame, and our shoehorned F.R.I. (Forced Romantic Interest). Ash points out that he really likes the super special magical Mary Sue crystal necklace that Nina is wearing, because introducing plot elements is haaarrrddd. But Nina and Ash are then kidnapped by these weird bird-lizard minions of Zonoya, our non-canon Villain Sue, who wants Nina’s necklace so she can bring her old master, Malefor (the actual canon big bad of the Legend of Spyro trilogy), back from the dead. (She also uses her random Memory-Related Powers on Nina for no reason except to show off that Zonoya has random Memory-Related Powers for no reason.) All four parents go to rescue their kids, and Zonoya reveals (through several painfully drawn out walls of texts) that this was all her plan to get revenge for something Cynder did when they were kids. (That and the whole Malefor thing too, I guess…). Zonoya turns into her “cursed form”, which is never really explained, and attacks the canon characters, but is quickly K.O.’d when Spyro and Cynder go all Super Saiyan on her. The parents rescue their little Sue brats, and then the comic ends on a cliffhanger, implying Zonoya will be back!
- Glimpse of the Past – Because We Needed Zonoya’s Backstory, Apparently
After her pretty embarrassing defeat in the previous arc, Zonoya slips back to her weird, grey, blob castle mountain to sulk. There, we are then properly introduced to Rapture, Zonoya’s sniveling lackey who totally has the hots for her. But Zonoya has no time to deal with that. She has a crappy flashback to relive! We then get Zonoya’s backstory, where apparently she and Cynder were super BFFs as kids and were trained by Malefor for…reasons. Seeing as how Cynder was the better fighter, Malefor chose her to be his new evil apprentice, or whatever, and mutated the crap out of her. Apparently being forced through puberty in the span of an hour turned her into a giant douche canoe, because Cynder proceeds to immediately attack Zonoya for no reason whatsoever, and gave her vertical eye scars by slapping her face horizontally. After running away in tears (ow), Zonoya was taken in by a tribe of the bird-lizard things (called Birdons), who later became her minions, and no, they’re never really explained, either.
- Resurrection – Where the Villains Win for Half an Hour
While Zonoya continues to sulk in her cave and do nothing, Rapture says the smartest thing in this comic thus far as a joke. Zonoya then flies off to the Dragon Valley in the middle of the night and hypnotizes Nina (because she can do that too, apparently) into giving her the crystal. That was…incredibly easy! Why didn’t you just do that before?! Anyway, she then uses the Sue's ex Machina crystal to finally bring Malefor back from the dead by drawing a gigantic picture of his face. You can’t make this stuff up. Apparently being dead for who knows how long, made Malefor really horny (ha) and Zonoya and Malefor proceed to boink off-screen, much to the protest of Rapture. (Well…boink off-screen now, because, apparently, there were three or so pages of graphic dragon sex that were removed for violating Deviantart’s no hanky-panky policy, according to shaloneSK’s (now replaced) Encyclopedia Dramatica article.) Somehow, Malefor and Zonoya having sex makes the sky turn red, and gets Malefor really in the mood for imprisoning the Shire, uh, I mean world domination. Spyro tries to stop him but gets pwned right off the bat. But that’s okay! Because our little Sue-Spawn Nina inexplicably recalls the stolen crystal back to her necklace and summons some light dragon thingies that take out Malefor in one shot. Rather than just killing Zonoya as well, the gang stupidly decides to let her live because Zonoya has the biggest Mary Sue Plot Armor in the comic. This collective bought of idiocy gives Zonoya time to pop out her own little Demonic Sue-spawn Baby, with an even stupider name, Frijir.
Wait a minute…
This was basically just the plot of “A New” again, but even worse! Just how many “revenges” does Zonoya need, anyway?!
- Truth be Told - Victim Blaming and a Wedding
And, somehow, this comic manages to get even stupider than it already was. After a few months pass, Cynder decides to visit Zonoya in her blob castle to see if she can convince Zonoya to join the good guys. This goes well until Cynder spots Zonoya’s Demon Spawn, and promptly proceeds to victim blame the crap out of her even though the off-screen dragon hanky-panky wasn’t consensual, apparently. (Even if the Artist’s Comments contradicts the comic here.) After berating her for a few walls of text (by just spelling out Zonoya's subtext), Cynder, with the memory of a goldfish, asks if they can still be friends. Because nothing says Supportive-BFF more than chewing her ear off for sleeping with a guy she’s been obsessing over since they were children! Once Cynder peaces out, Rapture confesses to Zonoya (through three painful walls of text) that he’s totes in luv wif her 5evah! Apparently that’s enough for Zonoya and they get hitched on the next page. Except, due to size difference, Zonoya denies him fun on their wedding night, so Rapture then goes out and grows two extra feet through sheer horny willpower.
- Caution for Reason - The Lion King 2
Oh, hi, Lion King 2! What are you doing here? No, seriously. What are you doing here? As much as it tempts me to leave it at that, I’ll continue. So, after Rapture returns,
Zira Zonoya complains about the consequences of unprotected Malefor sex, and Rapture angsts about how he still hasn’t gotten laid. To get Kovu Frijir out of the house, Zonoya takes him over to the Dragon Valley to play with Nina and Ash, and Simba Spyro, being the cool-headed, rational dragon we’ve seen in the games, wastes no time in trying to kill Frijir on sight once he realizes that he is Malefor’s son. Cynder lightly reprimands Spyro for TRYING TO KILL A CHILD, and Zonoya sulks back to her slightly more textured blob castle. Zonoya then hatches an eeeevvviiilllll scheme to get Kiara Nina and Ash to play with Frijir by…having them come of their own free will. Uhhh… What? Spyro then has a dream where Dark Spyro tells him that his daughter is destined to carry out Scar Malefor’s evil plan to destroy the world. (At least I thinks that’s what he’s saying, because the dialogue here is so stupid and confusing that I honestly can’t tell). The next day, Nina just decides, for no reason, that she wants to play with the reFrijirator. She then tricks her (and Ash’s) parents so that she can visit the home of the woman who kidnapped her, while dragging along a rightfully reluctant Ash. Zonoya then greets Ash and Nina in the most sinister way imaginable and immediately leaves all three children alone to roughhouse completely unsupervised, because parenting is haaarrrddd. Then, a minor bump to Nina’s head sends the two boys spiraling into a jealous, testosterone fueled fight to the death. Meanwhile, on the other side of the valley, our four canon characters suddenly remember that parents are supposed to keep an eye on their children. So Spyro leads the group on a daring ‘rescue mission’ to Zonoya's only to find something much worse than kidnapped children: teenage hormones! D: Spyro, convinced that “being evil” is genetic, tells Nina she can’t play with Frijirator anymore and drags her home. Once Spyro and Co. leave, Zonoya smiles like she fulfilled an evil scheme even though she did absolutely nothing.
- Her Touch His Feelings - Revenge of Zonoya’s Revenge…Again
With a title like that, one would expect this story arc to be dedicated to developing Zonoya and Rapture’s relationship. NOPE! :D
While flying against a non-descript background, Nina’s stomach growls, so everyone automatically drops everything to get food. But Nina’s a ~~speeeeccciiaaaallll~~ little snowflake because she refuses to eat sheep/meat. Seeing that she’s a carnivore, I’m betting she’ll be dead within a week. Cut to Rapture ripping off a scene from Aladdin, only with some casual animal violence. Just what the scene always needed! Then cut to Zonoya showing Frijirator how to hunt sheep, despite stating in the very first speech bubble that he already knows how to hunt. Anyway, Zonoya mercilessly slaughters those suckers to show how ~~eeeeevviilllll~~ she supposedly is and then there’s this random, melodramatic frame of this black sheep watching the scene in dismay.
When they get back to the Blob Castle, Frijirator angsts about what happened last segment. I’m angsting too, but I doubt for the same reasons. Then shaloneSK decides to give Frjirator random powers too! Zonoya forces a random Birdon to sit still while her fire-breathing son tests out his new, potentially lethal powers on the poor thing. Okay, that’s it. Zonoya’s officially a dictator, and a ruthless one at that. Anyway, Frijirator’s powers are that he has the ability to mind control anyone he wants, as long as he cuts them slightly first. Zonoya notes that “his powers are only temporary”, but it’s heavily implied that these powers will get stronger as he gets older. Because that’s not terrifying if you stop to think about it. NOPE!
Back with Spyro and the gang, Spyro chews Nina’s ear off for a bit, then Zonoya shows up in the distance with her kid, and Spyro forbids Nina from playing with Frijir. Four pages later, that’s exactly what she tries to do. Frijir runs away from Nina because
SHE’S CRAZY he doesn’t want to get her in trouble. Meanwhile Cynder and Zonoya are shopping (because dragons do that, apparently), and Frijirator bumps into Zonoya while he attempts to escape a pursuing Nina. Cynder says the two can play as long as Spyro doesn’t see them. Next page, Ash shows up, and Testosterone Fight Round 2 begins.
Thankfully, the whole ‘love triangle’ element, such as it is, is pretty much immediately resolved when Ash declares his love for Nina Sue out of fat air and she immediately returns his affections. This random declaration of love is never mentioned again, and will have no effect on the plot whatsoever. Their terrible chemistry sends Frijirator running off crying to his mommy. Cynder, in all her wisdom, decides that the best person to comfort the emotionally distressed child is the man who LITERALLY TRIED TO MURDER HIM THE DAY BEFORE. This goes about as well as you’d expect, and Spyro ends up with a small scratch on his nose. Violating this comic’s OWN CANON, the scratch on Spyro’s nose only gives Frijirator a stronger hold on Nina, because consistency is haaarrrddd. Also, this gives shaloneSK a flimsy reason to show off Nina in her “evul” form.
Our four main adults then start blaming Zonoya for Nina’s rampage even though it was pretty clear that Frijir is the closest thing to a culprit. Like, seriously? Are they going to blame her when Nina hits puberty as well? Rather than defending herself from these accusations, Zonoya just kind of…rolls with them, because taking credit for random events is just something she does, apparently. Zonoya tells the adults to chill because Nina’s transformation is only temporary and will wear off in a few seconds, which everyone seems to ignore because we get several panels of Spyro and Cynder telling ol’ Ninakin Skywalker to come back to the light side. After Nina
‘s possession wears off naturally conquers the evil inside her with her super special Sue powers, Zonoya, for some reason, laments how the random event she didn’t even have a hand in, was thwarted, and attempts to flee the scene.
We get more of Cynder being an awful “best friend” and then kind of a really terrifying line from Spyro implying that he wants to have Zonoya tortured for these crimes she didn’t even commit. So, after that uncomfortable bit of dialogue, what happens? Zonoya and the Marquis de Sade-ro settle their differences with a handshake two pages later. Wait, what?!?! Then Zonoya and the kid who started this whole mess (but for some reason is never brought up in the previous argument) go home and everyone seems really chill about everything for some reason. Cynder mentions keeping an eye on Zonoya from now on, because they weren’t before, apparently.
This is literally the same plot as the Lion King 2 arc!!! How do you write over a hundred pages of this crap and not realize that all the plots are the same?!?!
- The Calling - Last Minute Exposition Dump Answering the Questions You Never Asked
You can tell shaloneSK just wanted to get this comic over and done with, because, out of all the arcs in this comic, this one is by far the most pointless/stupid/confusing. It’s almost like continuing a comic after FOUR endings that would have nicely tied up the series, was a bad idea! But, sigh (with one asterisk), let’s get this over with…
So, some time has passed after the weirdness of the last arc, and Nina is having a pretty restless night, as stated by the super necessary text box. After a scene ripping of the original Lion King for a change, Nina notices her crystal is acting very strangely. In typical Mary Sue fashion, she decides to follow her sparkly Deus ex Machina until it leads her into a dark forest with Alice in Wonderland Mushrooms. We get a brief scene of Nina trying to play Disney Princess with these unexplained demonic bunnies, but, thankfully, the crystal quickly decides to steer us away from that bit of stupid. Nina is then…um…sucked through a worm hole??? Until she ends up in a glittery crystal cave, where we FINALLY get backgrounds that are not vertical walls of grass. The crystal opens up a magic door to this secret library and we are met with…this monstrosity.
It turns out that these dragon heads are the mothers of the spirit dragons that inhabit Nina’s crystal, and they sit Nina down for the most pointless and confusing bit of backstory I’ve ever read. This is literally like listening to a grandparent with memory problems try to tell a story…which I guess in a strange way makes sense now. Well, apparently, raising spirit dragons was harder than they originally thought, so they just stuck them in a magic crystal… because parenting is haaarrrddd. It’s also kind of implied that Cynder stole it, which is both stupid and hilarious. Then, like a couple of morons, these two schmucks decide to let Nina KEEP THE CRYSTAL CONTAINING THEIR CHILDREN! They then give Nina something to “give to her father while he’s sleeping” because that’s not terrifying at all! They also tell her to go visit Zonoya later because it’s already been 14 whole pages since we’ve last seen her! D:
Nina goes home and roofies her dad via crystal magic, who then has a drug induced dream about his old buddy Ignitus who spends literally three pages and several walls of text to tell Spyro that he’s been acting way too OOC lately. Oh yeah, and then there’s this page where shaloneSK shoehorns in characters from the original trilogy, because apparently just ruining the newer Spyro canon wasn’t good enough for her. Spyro wakes up from his drug coma the next afternoon to find everyone standing over him, and Nina says that her spidey senses are telling her they all have to go to Zonoya’s place. All the adults mindlessly agree and they head over to the blob castle, where we are introduced to Zonoya and Rapture’s new kids, or, as I like to call them, the two freaking ugliest, mutant, demon spawn in existence. Seriously, look at how hideous these designs are! We’re then force fed three pages of disgusting, sappy, schmults, and then the comic finally ends.
So…um…what was the point of all that?
I, SpazzticBunnyhood, am a fan of the original trilogy while TheCowboyBatman is a fan of the more recent games. With that said, we both agree that Spyro is written grossly out of character here. That’s because most fanfic/fancomic authors can’t write the opposite gender worth a darn. shaloneSK’s Spyro literally has two modes: funsucking emo dad and crazy, child murdering, angry villager who constantly screams at people about the “eeeevvvviiillllllll” invading their land. Despite saving the world and everyone he cares about on a regular basis in the games (and that time he tried to murder a child), he is completely disempowered in this comic. What, is his confidence inversely proportional to his height? And, minus the weird prologue, he’s the first character to cry (for no reason, I might add). This is seriously supposed to be the adult version of Spyro? I…I’ll just move on.
Cynder is always right. Even when she’s wrong, she’s right. As the third and least obnoxious Mary-Sue in this comic, she’s somewhat tolerable compared to the other two. However, if she was in a comic with good characters, she would be the weakest link. Wherever she goes, whomever she talks to, she is always portrayed as being in the right. Thing is…shaloneSK doesn’t see the flawed logic in Cynder’s arguments. Yes, Cynder was brainwashed when she hurt Zonoya, but Cynder refuses to acknowledge that she did anything wrong, and never takes any responsibility for what happened—involuntary or not. How is Zonoya supposed to change if Cynder’s not even willing to give a half-hearted apology? Then when Cynder finds out that Zonoya had a child with Malefor, instead of trying to find out what happened from Zonoya’s perspective, she instantly assumes the worst and victim blames the crap out of Zonoya. What a terrible friend! Not to mention that when Spyro attempts to kill Frijir, he later explains that he only did it because he was concerned for Nina’s safety, which is a legitimate parental concern (taken to an extreme). So naturally, Cynder’s solution is to give Nina complete freedom. Because it’s not like leaving your children to their own devices will endanger them in anyway—OH NO, WAIT! Look, I can understand wanting to have a character be the voice of reason and ground all the other characters, but you need to make her actually, you know, reasonable?
Ember might as well be on the other side of the world because of how little she impacts the plot. Her role in the story from the “A New” arc onward, is strictly delegated to “mom”. All of her dialogue is either about or directly related to her offspring. It’s like shaloneSK somehow thinks that once you have children, all of your individual personality traits are sucked right out of you. It doesn’t help much either that Ember’s interactions with her rebound of a husband make me believe that she still harbors some resentment over losing Spyro.
Flame was barely a character in the game he was introduced in, he’s barely a character now. He’s only included so that Ember can settle for him and have Nina’s F.R.I. together. There is no other point to his character. At least Flame had the characterization of a hothead in the games. Here, not only is he about as bland a cereal made out of styrofoam, but for some reason, he’s also more rational and level headed than the “I-will-murder-your-child" Spyro, who, in the trilogy this comic was based on, was known for being more cautious and less aggressive than any of his previous incarnations! *Facepalm*
I’m not lying when I say that Sparx is probably one of the worst characters in this comic. I don’t mean that he’s badly written, well, actually I do but that’s not the reason why. I mean he’s an absolute jerk! Even rivaling ol’ Attempted-Child-Murderer Spyro in general terribleness. At least shaloneSK TRIED to make Spyro sympathetic. But Sparx? Well, first we have him basically pimping Spyro over to whoever wins the race for his love (without Spyro’s say so, I might add), then he totally creeps on Layla in a way that would get a man a face full of mace in the real world. But it’s ok! Because being creepy and overly-handsy eventually wins him the girl! (Wut?) But even after all the trouble he went to to get said girlfriend, what does this little skeez do? Immediately try to pick up the next hot girl he sees. What a prince…
Oh, where to begin… Nina is definitely the most obvious Mary Sue in the entire storyline, (though not nearly as annoying as Zonoya). Nina is the special kind of Mary Sue that encompasses all that is wrong in the world of fandom. The kind of Mary Sue that even Ebony Darkness herself would raise an eyebrow at. Let’s break it down, shall we? First of all, she’s just handed a super speeshzul magic crystal that can literally bring back the dead, on a silver platter, for no apparent reason. She’s even so Mary Sueish that the creators of the crystal decide to let her keep it instead of taking it back for safekeeping because she is apparently “worthy” or some such nonsense. Ugh… Second, she takes out big bads in about two seconds without breaking a sweat, when the more experienced adults struggle and fail. She also has two boys falling all over themselves for her because she’s apparently the prettiest dragon to ever live. But by far the most condemning example is the fact that she’s the key to bringing about the villains’ plans for world domination because she’s a super powerful purple dragon. Never mind the fact that in the games, a purple dragon is born only once in 10,000 years! But I guess Nina’s just that “speeshzul”. (Either that or it took Spyro and Cynder 10 000 years to have the bloody kid.) The only flaw this Dragon God’s gift to earth has is that she is apparently as dumb as a post, and even that is probably unintentional on the creator’s part.
Did you ever watch Lion King 2 and say to yourself “Hey! Wouldn’t it be great if there was another male in the story to shoehorn in a forced romantic love triangle?” No? Well, shaloneSK apparently did, because now we have Ash. Being the byproduct of the two blandest characters in the story, (Flame and Ember) it’s little wonder that Ash would be plagued with the same boring, ineffectual personality. Well, that’s not entirely true. He does have somewhat of a character, it’s just stuck on permanent ‘jerk’ setting. He serves as a rival to Fridge-ear for Nina Sue’s affections, and basically kickstarts the second half of the plot by his own douchebaggery.
- Layla (Sparx's F.R.I.)
Wow this character barely manages to exist. I’ve noticed in bad fanfiction that if a character is left single in canon, the fangirls will make up an OC to be their significant other. As you can guess, this is the only reason this character exists. She’s still one of the better characters, though, if only for these three panels of awesome.
Everything is about Zonoya. Even if it isn’t about Zonoya, it is. These characters cannot function unless they talk about Zonoya regularly. After the “A New” arc, Zonoya must always be in the spotlight even if the spotlight is shining on someone else for a change.
Alright, allow me to explain. There’s this weird trend that I’ve noticed where Zonoya becomes the topic of every conversation whether or not it’s relevant to what’s being discussed. I can understand Zonoya being the focal point of conversations when she’s a participant, or if Spyro and the gang try to figure out what she’s plotting…but then there are other times when the characters are talking about something else, and then the conversation takes a sharp turn to mention Zonoya for no reason. I swear, these characters could be talking about the weather, and then one of them will stop and say “Zonoya loves the colour pink”, before continuing the conversation like nothing happened.
The first time I noticed it is when Dark Spyro and Spyro are discussing Nina’s fate, only for Dark Spyro to randomly mention that Zonoya wanted Malefor “in the very depths of her soul”. Then during Cynder and Zonoya’s shopping spree, Cynder is in the middle explaining the dragon economy, when Zonoya decides to mention that her parents sang to her while she was an egg. Perhaps the most infuriating case is when Zonoya breaks it to Frijirator that Rapture isn’t his “real dad”, and Frijirator promptly asks if Zonoya is doing okay, and thus putting the spotlight back on her and robbing him of any character development he could have gotten here.
I suspect that there are two reasons for this fixation on Zonoya. The first is that shaloneSK sucks at making dialogue flow naturally, and had these little tidbits about Zonoya that she didn’t know how to work into the story properly. (I mean it’s not like Zonoya could talk about these intimate details of her life with her SPOUSE or anything.) The second reason is because shaloneSK absolutely adores Zonoya as a character. I mean, she’s half-antihero, half-villain with a tragic past who is JUST SO MISUNDERSTOOD! *sob* Sarcasm aside, I can understand the appeal of this OC. She even started out kind of decent, what with the dramatic build up to her character in the “A New” story arc. But then shaloneSK started to like her a little too much and spoiled the crap out of her. (So much so, that she almost seems like a self inse—ohhhhhh, boy…) I’m not even kidding—Zonoya steals the spotlight repeatedly from our supposed protagonists (and from her own son).
Despite how much Zonoya whines and angsts about how “hard” her life is, everything goes her way. Sure, she’s evil, but that’s only because she’s “misunderstood”. Sure, she was blinded by Cynder, but she gets taken in by the Birdons (and just ends up with an extra eye in the middle of her forehead anyway). Sure, she’s defeated by Spyro and the gang when she tries to get Nina’s MacGuffin Necklace, but she gets it with the greatest of ease the second time around. Sure, it’s implied that Malefor raped her, but considering the graphic dragon sex scene that was cut out, Zonoya definitely got a kick out of it. (I mean, who wouldn’t want to do it with Malefor? #sarcasm) Sure, Zonoya’s left alone as a single mother and is shamed by Cynder, but she gets hitched to a nice guy before that story arc even ends. You can love a character all you want, but if you’re not willing to make them struggle—and I mean REALLY struggle—then the only person who will love them is you (and preteens who can’t tell the difference between good and bad writing).
Malefor in the games is a pretty basic villain. He’s an evil dragon bent on destroying the world. Yada yada, the end. (He’s no Ripto.) In this comic, however, it’s like shaloneSK said to herself, “Kay, but what if we made him a rapist?” Now instead of getting a bland villain who monologues ad nauseum, we get a horny, bland villain who monologues ad nauseum. Great… The only reason Malefor is even in this comic is to give Zonoya a little demon spawn Gary Stu of her own. He’s literally such a boring, ineffectual villain, that the one time he does try to impact the plot, he gets taken out by a ten year old.
Rapture is the Batman of this comic. He has a utility belt and everything! Okay, joking aside, he really is the best character, bar none…which is sad considering our character cast, but we’ve already discussed that. Anyway, just because Rapture is the best character, that doesn’t mean I don’t have problems with him. Rapture is the only one to go through any real character development, and it isn’t so much “character development” as it is constant retconning. First he’s just a goon, then he’s a horny goon, then he’s a sad horny goon, then he’s the perfect man for Zonoya, then he’s a cranky husband, and then he’s just the perfect husband.
Rapture was at his best when he was the victim of unrequited love. This made him the most sympathetic in the story. Unfortunately, shaloneSK felt too sorry for him, and gave him his happy ending as soon as Malefor kicks the bucket. What made Rapture relatable was his suffering, and by having him marry Zonoya in the middle of the story, shaloneSK completely undermined what made him a decent character in the first place. Can you imagine if in the Empire Strikes Back, when Darth Vader reveals that Luke is his son, Luke automatically accepted him as his father—complete with cheesy father-son montage—before continuing the rest of the movies as if nothing had happened? The scene of Vader’s funeral wouldn’t feel earned because the happy ending already happened in the middle of the story! Same thing happens with Rapture.
After marrying Zonoya, the most drama his character goes through is that he’s upset that he doesn’t get laid right away. First of all, SHE MARRIED YOU! If she wasn’t going to put sex on the table, then that wedding never would have happened! Second, I guess THIS page is complete bull, because Rapture’s whining comes across like he only married Zonoya for sex. (I’m not even going to go into how gross it is to think about a bird and a dragon rolling around in the hay.) The frustrating part is that, if shaloneSK had left Zonoya and Rapture’s wedding until the end of the comic (or just ended the comic after that story arc), Rapture would be a praiseworthy character. But, like Zonoya, Rapture is the victim of an author who spoils her OCs.
- Frijir (Because THAT’S a name that belongs in the Spyro universe…)
I kind of feel bad for this kid, but not in the way shaloneSK wants me to. We’re supposed to pity him because he’s Malefor’s son, but I pity him because he’s Zonoya’s son. Zonoya’s a terrible parent who tells her kid that the reason he almost got killed was because they’re different, leaves a group of children in her own home to play without supervision, and tells Frijir that just because Rapture’s not his biological dad, that automatically means he’s not his “real dad”. (Screw you, Zonoya!) Sure, there is this one time where Zonoya keeps Spyro from killing Frijir, but that doesn’t stop her from bringing him to places where Spyro and Nina are chilling. Also, let’s not forget the fact that she finds out her son has satanic powers and is like “mmm, yesssss, marvelous!”
Then we go to the other extreme with Nina, and I almost feel worse for him here. Her father tried to kill the poor Frigerator because he was playing with Nina, and then Nina goes out of her way to try and play with him the next day. Does she want to get him killed?! Also, Ash hates him for almost no reason, and refuses to give him a break. Also, even though it’s heavily implied that Frijir has a thing for Nina, and the scene where Nina chases him is the closest thing to chemistry shaloneSK will ever muster, Nina mindlessly admits she loves Ash and we’re expected to just roll with it. It’s like Frijir’s sole purpose in the story is to make the Mary-Sues more ~~speeecccuuuaaalll~~ than they already are—for Zonoya to have living proof she slept with Malefor, and for Nina to be more of an object of desire. Now THAT’S sad.
This character is proof that shaloneSK just wanted to have a “cool character” for the sake of having a “cool character”. Not only is there no real reason for this character to exist, but the name is a perfect example of how shaloneSK didn’t do any research. Unless, that is, she wanted to name her Yin-Yang themed character after a Japanese dessert. Also, Anmitsuho just has this random green dragon chillin’ in her cave thing, who is by far the coolest character because she shows up for one panel, says nothing, and is never seen in the comic again.
This story is an absolute mess. Like, sure, it was kinda bad at the beginning, but at least from the “A New” story arc to the “Truth be Told” arc, had structure. After that it just keeps going for no reason, and then just ends abruptly. (Also, the last segment just chucks random characters at us and expects the audience to mindlessly love them.) I get the sense that shaloneSK wanted to tell a grand, sweeping story, but instead of researching what makes a story like that work, she just dumped a boatload of purple prose and superfluous walls of text on us.
All of this wouldn’t bother me so much, except that the Artist’s Comments on the very last page of the comic clearly state that shaloneSK HAD A SCRIPT. That means she at least read it over once or twice before farting it out onto the internet! I…I just…HOW?!
This comic’s writing is garbage. Like, such garbage that if you gave us three eternities, it still wouldn’t be enough time to describe how bad this is in every aspect. And the document we wrote this down on, was 30 Pages long at one point, so we’re not exaggerating. But we’ll just go into a few of said aspects to help get across how bad this writing is.
- Segment Titles
This comic has downright weird segment names. “A New”? “Caution for Reason”? “Her Touch His Feelings”?! Is shaloneSK’s first language even English? If it isn’t that would explain a lot, and I would feel bad, but either way, these segment titles really need to be reworded.
- The Censored Swearing
shaloneSK likes to censor all the swear words in the comic in weird and ridiculous ways that takes away from what little impact they originally had. Hey, Shalone! If you need a ****ing example of how to do ****ing censored swears correctly, then may I suggest that you ****ing take a look at this **** you ****! Or at least use the symbols on the number keys for $#%@'s sake!
- The Sound Effects
Yes, I am going to criticize a comic's sound effects, even if I am nitpicking. I just have to. Almost every sound effect in the comic only has one asterisk. (Except when the typeface/font she's using doesn't have an asterisk, then she uses the ¥ symbol to create such classic sound effects like "¥URG" and "¥HEHEHEE".) This drove us crazy. Have two of them or don't include them at all. Sheesh!
This comic honestly has so many, that if we were to list out each one individually, we’d be here all day. But without further ado…
Even though Spyro and Cynder live virtually next door to Ember and Flame and both couples have their offspring born seemingly on the same day, somehow Nina and Ash don’t meet until years later when the plot demands it. Do you mean to tell me that in all that time none of the parents ever went “oh, yeah! You know our neighbors across the valley? They have a kid about your age. Derp.” I guess Ember was more bitter about losing Spyro than we thought…
Nina’s MacGuffin Crystal makes no sense enough as it is, but what makes even less sense is how she got it. Nina constantly says that Cynder gave it to her and we later find out that Cynder
stole it "took it under her wing" from Anmitsuho. And here’s where I’ve got problems. When was Cynder in Anmitsuho's cave? Why was Cynder in Anmitsuho's cave? Why did Cynder take the crystal? Why did Cynder give it to her daughter the day of her birth? Why did Cynder give her daughter a crystal that can resurrect the dead, summon white dragons, and who knows what else? Why are Cynder, Anmitsuho, and EVERY OTHER ADULT EVER entrusting this powerful MacGuffin to a girl who can’t be older than ten?! Wouldn't it be safer to just put this thing in an Indiana Jones temple and call it a day? Nothing about this makes sense!
So, there’s this section in Zonoya’s flashback where widdle!Cynder and widdle!Zonoya are proving themselves to Malefor by breaking logs in half with their tails. (It’s as stupid as it sounds.) Cynder, of course, does it without any problem, but Zonoya can't to pull it off. Then, a couple of hours later, Zonoya is suddenly able to do the trick, but TOO LATE! Malefor brainwashed Cynder (and apparently can't brainwash both of them)! …But, um, Malefor, buddy…you picked the wrong dragon. While Cynder did do the log trick first, we don’t know how long it took for her to master that technique. She could have been working at it for months, even years if we’re being generous. Yet, Zonoya masters the exact same thing in a matter of HOURS. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to your general evildoing if you chose the dragon who shows an enhanced ability to learn new techniques in a shorter amount of time? Again, you picked the wrong dragon!
Arguably one of the biggest plot holes in the comic, and one that has managed to piss off a great many fans of the LoS trilogy, is the fact that Malefor is shown to have trained Cynder and Zonoya, despite it being canonically impossible. Yes, Cynder was actually corrupted by Malefor’s power in the games, but he was not the one to do it! Malefor had been imprisoned in his own mountain centuries before Cynder was even born! He could not possibly have been around during the events of this flashback to train our second rate Sue kiddies. You can deviate from canon all you like, shaloneSK, but you gotta give a reason for doing so that makes sense! You can’t just wave your hand and say “this is how it really happened! Ignore everything that those bozos at Sierra said! They don’t know anything!”
As much as Zonoya whines about missing Malefor for pretty much the entire rest of the comic after the Resurrection arc, I’m surprised the thought never occurred to her to…I don’t know, maybe try to bring him back again? I mean, the comic never actually states that the good old chalk drawing method wouldn’t work a second time. If this comic weren’t already mind numbingly repetitive, Zonoya could have literally done steps 1-5 of her plan again, maybe this time smashing the crystal when she was done, so nothing could stop her? I’m sorry, Zonoya, you don’t get any sympathy point for being this dumb and/or lazy!
So, the Truth be Told section of the comic takes place months after Malefor broke free and, therefore, did the dragon hanky-panky with Zonoya. Even if we don’t take into consideration how much time it took for Zonoya’s egg to hatch, Frijir should not be able to formulate words, let alone a coherent sentence. Frijir isn’t even a toddler yet, but he has a level of awareness that one wouldn’t find in a newborn. Was Zonoya just like…
Even if you ignore that little blip, then there’s Frijir’s relationship with Nina. Frijir is built up like a love rival on equal standing with Ash, but Frijir is at least several years younger than her. Sure age doesn’t matter as much when you’re middle-aged, but these three are still kids! Frijir even more so! Frijir shouldn’t even be the same size as the other two, yet we’re supposed to consider Frijir as a potential love interest for Nina? Seriously?
This is something that TheCowboyBatman pointed out to me. So, in this frame, this is where Rapture goes off for a time to grow an extra two feet. But how long does it take for his transformation to complete? Your first thought is that he left for a “few years”, considering the blurb in the panel. But then when you read Zonoya’s dialogue, she acts like he’s only been gone for an afternoon. So did he grow over a couple of years or did he have a freak growth spurt that made him bigger in a couple of hours? It’s like a paradox you tell an A.I. to make them short circuit.
- The Animal Violence
We didn’t really mention it in the summary, but this comic has a lot of animal violence. Sure, I get that this is a comic about dragons, and large carnivores prey on smaller animals, so you could argue that this comes with the territory. Thing is, every single instance of animal violence I can think of in this comic is completely unnecessary. It’s not like there’s a key plot point introduced when they rip apart this sheep. As an animal lover, I think this aspect of the comic is the most offensive—especially since all of it is pointless. When you show Zonoya crushing this blue mouse to death, it doesn’t make me think Zonoya is terrible, it makes me think shaloneSK is terrible for including this in the scene to begin with. I mean I get that she’s trying to make this story “edgy”, but I can think of plenty of stories with mature themes that don’t randomly gore small animals, half-censor the swearing, or include off-screen sex scenes.
- Incoherent Evil Dialogue
The dialogue in this comic does not flow well in the slightest. Characters will jump topic to topic without any transitional sentences, which is especially jarring when you read through the walls of text you’re occasionally inflicted with. The worst part is that she tries way too hard to make her characters sound smart by using this weird, mangled, high fantasy style of speaking, when in reality, it just makes her sound like an airhead. The dialogue would flow much more naturally, if she used a simple, but timeless manner of speech (see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast), rather than trying so hard to sound like JRR Tolkien that she ends up sounding like she doesn’t understand how sentences work. There is no better example of this than when the “evil” characters try to talk “evilly”. Quotations necessary because the “evil” dialogue is so incoherent it’s downright laughable. I mean, imagine if Emperor Palpatine tried to convince Anakin to come to the Dark Side with some of this dialogue!
TheCowboyBatman: The art is really the best part about this thing, at least in certain aspects. It’s interesting to see how many style changes this comic went through during the years. Excluding the “Spyro’s Back” arc, it starts out as black and white pencils, then switches to copic markers (rather abruptly I may add), then finally to fully shaded digital. But while I may love the expressions and designs of the dragons, the way they’re colored is really ugly, making all the characters look like weird, plastic figurines rather than flesh and blood creatures. The backgrounds are also ridiculously lazy, especially in the early parts, consisting of vertical walls of grass with no change in perspective. Also, what is this?
I can understand switching from black and white to color as the comic goes on, but on the same page?!?!?!
SpazzticBunnyhood: I’m going to start off by saying that I love the character designs in this comic series. …Okay, most of them. Like, if I just looked at this picture of Adult Spyro and Adult Cynder and nothing else, I wouldn’t be writing this review.
However, there are a few things to harp on. First one are the backgrounds. For the most part, I don’t mind the vague, blobular shaped backgrounds, as long as they aren’t the main focus—a blurry background can help emphasize the foreground. But then there are times where the blobular backgrounds ARE the main focus of the panel, and then it becomes glaringly obvious just how bad they are.
But then there’s the flipside where shaloneSK takes stock images and random textures and slaps them behind the characters. This wouldn’t be a problem IF THEY WEREN’T SUCH AN EYESORE.
I mean, look at this! The background images become so noisy that it’s hard to focus on the foreground. It’s the comic equivalent of playing crackling static over a song. Egads! It just hurts to look at!
The other problem with the art is a bit harder to explain. See, one thing TheCowboyBatman complained about this comic’s art is how the dragons look too shiny. I was a tad confused by that argument, until I realized that the actual problem wasn’t how the dragons were shaded, but rather how everything else was shaded the same way. I’m guessing shaloneSK mainly just drew dragons for the longest time, because this shading is great at implying a scaly-smooth texture without drawing every single scale. The problem is that she applies the same shading techniques for characters and objects that would have completely different textures. So, the Birdons look like porcelain dolls, grass and rocks both look equally fragile, and even clouds look like they could fall out of the sky and skewer you.
But I think shaloneSK learned her lesson since her more recent pictures have pretty good backgrounds in them and the right textures.
Perhaps the most objectionable thing about this comic is shaloneSK’s behaviour at the time she wrote it. Her comic is harmless at best, yet she seems to have treated her inexplicably large fanbase she racked up, like crap, and comes across like she thinks she’s the best writer since Shakespeare. Here is an example from an Artist’s Comment on one of her comic’s pages:
-shaloneSK, December 23, 2009
If you are seriously so far up your own butt as to think that people saying your story is a poorly written rehash of a Disney movie is to be taken as a compliment, then I don’t know what to tell you. Shalone is/was apparently so in love with her *cough* *cough* amazing comic, that she has actually deluded herself into thinking that she owns the canon characters now as well.
-shaloneSK, Description from her Spyro Gallery
For frick’s sake! Will someone please explain the concept of “copyright” to this woman?!
And that’s not to mention her despicable treatment of her own fans! Like this poor unfortunate soul who had the ‘audacity’ to draw some fanart of Frijirator that Shalone apparently deemed too “violent”, which judging by the adorable crayon coloring style, was probably nothing more than a few red squiggles here and there. Unfortunately, we will never know because, judging by the artist’s comments on the picture, ol’ Mother of Dragon Sues came down on her like the wrath of God for it. This scared the poor artist so much that she deleted her earlier drawing and drew another for her as an apology. Shalone, with all the grace of a self-satisfied despot, condescendingly responded in the comments with what essentially equates to “hmm, well I guess the hapless plebeian has learned her lesson, now. I suppose I shall deign to forgive thee. *headpats*” Ugh…
Also, quick side-note…for a creator who forbids her fanbase from drawing her characters in “bloody or sexual or in any other weird circumstances”, shaloneSK certainly draws them in a lot of bloody, sexual, and weird circumstances. Hypocrite.
-shaloneSK after getting a Daily Deviation in 2011
SpazzticBunnyhood: Yeah, how DARE her fans like her characters so much that they wanna roleplay as them! Talk about nerve!
TheCowboyBatman: Yes folks, follow this “lofty artist’s” advice and one day you too can make a terrible fancomic of your very own!
And, if that still isn’t enough evidence, then here are quotes found in the Artist’s Comments on scattered pictures/pages of the comic:
- “Don't complain about the nipples, I know she's a reptile, I just feel funny for not giving her anything XD;; - I'm not the only one who does this to dragons. so zip it.”
- “For ones how have been bugging for the next page, don't make me throw you out the window. Have some freaking patience for once”
- “mature for blood as it's still there(panel 7), don't you dare bitch at me for it. >8[ ”
- “Stop bitchin about there height size lol ( freaking dragons for gods sake, there suppose to be huge; )”
Spazzticbunnyhood: And, lastly, I’d like to end this segment with this quote:
-shaloneSK, Oct 9, 2010, 12:19 PM
Now, I know, for a fact, that the person shaloneSK was targeting wasn’t me, but that is a terrible argument that has often been used against this very website. I’d like to quote Youtuber Digibro, on his first video in the series of reviews he did on the anime Asterisk War, and use it to counter the flimsy argument.
-Digibro (Digi Does Anime channel), The Asterisk War Sucks (Part 1)
This quote speaks to the heart of all critics. No person and no person’s work is 100% perfect. Therefore it is necessary for others to criticise you so that you don’t become a self-obsessed narcissist. This is a fact of life.
For example, George Lucas, when creating the original Star Wars Trilogy, was questioned and ridiculed at every turn. What resulted were three good films. However, when George Lucas was creating the Star Wars Prequels, he was surrounded by people who never challenged him. What resulted were three bad films. (I don’t know why we keep bringing up Star Wars in this review…)
Of course, like everything, this can be taken too far, and the line between fair critique and outright bullying is a fine line to walk. But what’s disheartening about this mentality is that if you shut out everyone who challenges you, there is very little room to grow. It’s childish. And, yeah, it is very hard to be criticized, directly or indirectly. But if you refuse to listen to people who think differently than you do, then the best thing that could happen is you create The Legend of Spyro: Zonoya’s Revenge.
TheCowboyBatman: On a happier note, it appears that not everything Shalone says is one long, unending tirade of unpleasantness. She does occasionally leave some genuinely nice comments on pictures people draw of her characters (though she will nitpick if the details are incorrect. Really Shalone? Really?) But even still, she’s come along way since her ‘I-will-melt-your-face-off-with-the-heat-of-my-blinding-rage’ kind of days. I can’t say for sure if her ego has deflated at all, or if she’s better at taking criticisms, but it does go to show that anyone can learn to be a better person. Now if we could just get her to be a better writer…
SpazzticBunnyhood: This is the perfect "turn your brain off" comic. It looks nice, it reads okay, (well, if you don’t pay too much attention to the grammar and spelling) but the second you try and dig beneath the surface, the whole thing falls apart to reveal a despicable underbelly. There are three Mary-Sues running around, it has a childish mentality of what mature content is, and shaloneSK treated her fans terribly for the longest time.
And in the tradition of this comic, allow me to randomly bring this back to Zonoya for no reason: Zonoya has the ability to “compress” her Cursed form. By sitting on it, I guess.
TheCowboyBatman: A final word to the artist...
All sporking aside, my intention is not to unfairly bash on this comic for no reason. I would normally give constructive criticism here on how this story could be improved, but honestly, I don’t know how I would fix it. After all, how do you save an idea that had essentially no reason to exist in the first place? And I won’t lie, the writing is awful, and I mean well and truly awful. So much so, that it detracts from the pretty artwork. Shalone, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by focusing on flash over substance. My advice? Keep your plots simple and your characters complex, and focus more on having the dialogue sound natural rather than ‘smart’. You are at your best when you keep things light. A good story does not have to be dark, or epic, or convoluted. It just has to be compelling. Also, maaaaaaybe run your OC’s through the Mary Sue Litmus Test before finalizing them. (Seriously, I racked up 155 points with Zonoya alone.)
But, for all it’s problems, I can tell that this comic had a lot of love and effort put into it. You just need to be willing to listen to what constructive feedback other people give you, and not ignore it or get defensive. You will never learn how to fix your mistakes if you refuse to acknowledge them. I sincerely hope that one day you’ll make such vast improvements in storytelling and characterization that you’ll look back on this comic and cringe. That’s how you’ll know you’ve truly gotten better.
~All the best,
- The webcomic (as well as some unrelated Spyro artwork)
- shaloneSK's DeviantArt Account It seems she has essentially abandoned it in early 2021.
- Its TV Tropes page