Allo allo y'all!
Let's get right down to the good stuff.
- So, at first I was all 'generic art is generic' and then I was all 'holy shit Hedge, what have you done to your arms?' They're like balloons! AND THEY'RE HUGE! Look at the penultimate panel! He might as well have turned green and started speaking in hulk speak!
- And where the hell did Vlad come from? It's almost as if he just popped out of a giant box.
- Ellen. She is bisexual. And being the only person with the right sexuality for these blokes, she must comment on them, for she is attracted to them and has no self control over what she says. No wonder male her is friends with Tedd. They both say the first thing that comes to their damn minds.
- You know, for a series that's supposedly all gender equal and progressive, a lot of emphasis seems to be placed on genders, sometimes.
- Besides, doesn't Damien not want to breed with normal people?
- And, because I haven't been able to make this joke for about three-four reviews, I don't know if you can tell, but Nanase is not straight.
- Wow it's been a while since I hammered that sentence in the ground. You can really tell that Shive really just doesn't fucking care about characterization at this point because he hasn't given Nanase her chance at lesbian wangst. It's almost refreshing really, it's like 'hey, remember when this comic used to be bad for totally different reasons?'
- So, if this costume is stretchy, why was Grace's claws able to protrude out of it in an odd act of totally shitting on the only reason it's supposedly useful?
- Not to mention that she has shadows over her eyes, and as we all know, if you have shadows over your eyes, you're an evil fuck who will kill at a moments notice. You don't have to be a genius to figure out that this never happens. So thanks a lot for getting my hopes up Shive.
- And if it looks like Elliot is actually going to fight, you would be right. It makes no sense, considering how he was previously nearly conked out from exhaustion, but shut up.
- The whole layout of this place is really confusing and makes almost no sense when you think about it. This is why an overhead shot before hand is your friend.
- As has been driven into the ground eighty million times, Shive sucks at subtlety. The only reason I figured out the Elliot Ellen dynamic was because Shive panicked and gave into his need to over-exposit and explained the whole interaction in giant neon title letters.
- The reason this subtlety doesn't work is because the point of subtlety is that if you don't know it's there, you don't see it, plain and simple. If you make it a plot point like this, it simply can't be subtle, you just made it a freaking plot point. Ellen questioning it aloud also removes any attempt at subtlety as well.
- Not to mention that we never really saw any sibling chemistry between them. The only time we saw an ounce of sibling protectiveness was at the very end of the Sister arc where he refuses to admit Ellen is the clone and gets mad at Mr. Verres for making his very female sibling cry. That's all well and good but that happened in late 2002. Since then, the two have barely interacted in the slightest, other than the occasional expositional dialogue.
- Here's a hint, if you want to establish something as a trait, do it more than one time.
- Of course, now that Elliot is cat-boy again, he is also completely free of any energy problems he was suffering before. Even though the last time he did this, he was completely wasted from the transformation alone. I don't think Shive cares for consistency much, he just wants this to end.
- You know, this whole 'sketchbook AND NP' thing is working out nicely. It means that we're already in April. I can't wait for the schedule slips, then I REALLY get to laugh at Shive for no reason other than the fact that I have somehow psychologically convinced myself I have less strips to go through even though the number is exactly the same and if doing anything, increasing.
- And now we get expositional dialogue from Nanase that makes me suspect that someone on the Shive's forum has an unhealthy love of birds and decided to nitpick like only a scientist could, and point out how the ability of Vlad's flying is total bull shit. Shive, not to be outdone, decides the only way to remedy this is with more magic.
- I do not care how you justify this 'meow' is not a threatening battle cry. At least hiss, cats can hiss, you know, when they're not too busy not giving a fuck.
- And why is he the one fighting Hedge? Wouldn't it have been more powerful if he tried to fight Hedge, collapsed from exhaustion, and Ellen stepped in to protect her brother, just as protective as he is? But you see, that can't happen, because Ellen is only allowed to save someone whose name starts with an 'N' and ends with a 'anase is a total lesbian.'
Sketchbook Strip 040404
Also, once again Shive has shown an extraordinary talent in causing me to get enraged over things that I myself support.
For instance, here we see that the whole nature vs. nurture debate is a debate that Shive seems completely on the nurture side. I myself am pretty much of the mentality that nurture provides a huge part of the developmental process, while nature just makes the base.
However, Shive has somehow turned me against this idea, and makes me want to do nothing more than scream 'CHILD DEVELOPMENT DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!'
- You know, I've realize a huge problem with the silhouettes. Shive has a HORRIBLE 1/2 profile. I just can't get into it when I see that Grace has a total mouse face.
- Look at the last panel. Now look at the panel right above it, (4th panel).
- Now back at the last panel.
- Back at the above panel.
- It's hard to feel sorry for Grace when not even Shive does.
- YES! A fighting scene FINALL—
- oh my...
- It doesn't...
- OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE IT STO-OP!
- PUNCHING DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!
- TORQUE DAMN YOU!
- STOP ROMAN PUNCHING!
- AND YOU JUST EXPOSED YOUR ENTIRE TORSO WITH THAT KICK. ABSOLUTELY DESPICABLE. HE COULD HAVE NAILED YOU IN THE STERNUM AND EVERYTHING!
- And then you turn your BACK to him in the fourth panel? Really?
- You know, I just realized this should probably go in the 'content' section, but fuck that.
- On a more art-related critique, cramming a fightscene into what would normally be one panel is a huge no-no.
- Oh look, expositional dialogue. I have greatly missed you. It's like I'm reading actual manga!
- Oh look, narrator. I have greatly missed you. It's like I'm reading an actual novel!
- Oh look, a female being knocked out by a non-physical attack. I have greatly missed you. It's like I'm watching an actual bad action movie!
- Oh look, three bad narrative devices crammed into one strip that shows Shive has given no effort to learning a damn thing. I have greatly missed you. It's like I have actual proof that EGS is really bad!
Sketchbook Strip 041104
I love the fact that despite less of a traumatic upbringing, she is somehow less emotionally sound, and is inferior to Tedd in all ways, because she didn't actually volunteer for the transformer gun for gods knows what reason.
It's because she's a girl, isn't it? We can't have a perverted girl running around with a transformation gun. She might turn people into hot shirtless guys, and we can't have that.
- You know, this strip and the last one makes me highly suspect that Shive just figured out how to draw chins, or the looking up facial angle, and wants nothing more than to show it off, and then never ever use it again.
- See? Told you that Ellen wasn't allowed to be a hero for Elliot because she had to be a hero for Nanase.
- Only Ellen is allowed to save Nanase anyway. I mean, could you imagine if Elliot saved her? How in the world could Shive show that Ellen loved Nanase more than anything if she wasn't the one to save her?
- Character development? What's that?
- You know, is this beam supposed to just be a gender bender, or an actual ray of force? I mean, this is the equivalence of having an x-ray vision suddenly pushing people against a wall, or something.'
- And we never actually see how Vlad survives a drop that would have supposedly killed Nanase.
- I love how Shive makes his narrator get away with exposition. It's all last minute stuff too. There are easier ways to do this, you know.
- So, technically speaking, I was a lying bastard when I said Elliot was the only one to really break out of his hostage situation. I don't really think this counts, due to the difference in execution, but you know what? I'll suck it up here and say that Shive DID have his little woobie female escape from captivity, even if it was for the sake of Rule of Drama.
- So you sorta win this round...I guess.
- So, that was it. We saw Nanase get knocked out, and that was it. Wasn't that just a lovely exciting fight? Yeah, you can REALLY see how much Elliot helped in that fight. This is the power of TEAMWORK!
- Only it's totally not! And why is Elliot not bowled over from exhaustion?
- Oh look, an inner monologue that is completely unneeded. All you needed were the friggin pictures. That's all you needed! No exposition necessary! But nooooo, that would be too friggin simple for your mind to comprehend. Hell, keep the 'never again' s in there, those are fine. JUST GET RID OF THE MONLOGUE.
- This is another great place to end. Because next we have the big fight of the arc. Grace versus Damien. So you think, generic fight, Grace wins. Right?
- Hah. No. I didn't think it was possible, but somehow, Shive was able to fuck up even the most basic of formula.
- I don't know about you, but I'm excited!