Note: I’m not going into the technical things here, only because I’m not sure of how to critique a graphic novel piece. This “review” is mainly focused on my reaction from the story:
Okay, I’ve read this five times, and here’s what I got out of it:
Nicky, who—as other threads have mentioned—is the main character of your story, is with his grandmother, Elizabeth, at a festival. He’s carrying around a talisman that makes his lightning powers even stronger, and he is dressed in a way that is both embarrassing, and makes him unrecognizable to others. Several people comment about Nicky’s looks, he panics, which triggers his powers, and a lot of the crowd and Nicky is injured.
The ten pages you posted could have a great establishing character moment, or even relatable to the reader. I’m sure everyone has a memory of being forced to wear an outfit or sport a haircut that a parent, grandparent, or relative imposed on them. That moment of stepping out into the world, with everyone they know looking and commenting about it is dreadful. It is an embarrassing situation, and not being able to handle it is natural.
There is also the “Character With New Abilities or Magical Powers Has No Idea How To Use Them or What The Effects Are” angle being worked here, something we have sounds dozens of times, across all mediums. Generally, these scenes are funny: the first that came to mind was the first Spiderman, where Peter does whatever a spider can across rooftops in New York. Of course, they aren’t always funny, but the device is rarely stale, because each moment is more character development. We get a glimpse into who the character is, what they will do with this newfound power, and imagine what it is going to be like when they improve.
I didn’t get a sense of any of that in this scene because Nicky’s reaction here is, in a word, ridiculous.
You’ve struggled with your protagonist in the past, and one thing I’ve seen you say often is, “I’m too good at making unlikeable characters,” but this is over the top. It passes unlikeable and insufferable, and comes to where, if I had paid the $17.95 price of a new paperback graphic novel at Barnes and Noble (or the merchant of your choice), took it home, and reached this moment, I would set aside the book in frustration.
Nicky could have killed people, a lot of them. The word “chaos” is used there, and yes, when several people are trying to flee from fire and lightning in a crowded hall, chaos is an understatement. In addition to those actually getting hit from the attack, imagine the trampling, the asphyxiation…and for what? Because a few people made fun his hair? Really?
I’m assuming that there is more to it than what I described (and I’m also assuming that you had different intentions to this scene) but this is how it feels at face value.
- I agree with Fallen Legend. There are too many named and, as you said, unimportant characters in this scene. For a second, forget what all of the other mangas do. If this is the climax of your story—the highest point on the narrative mountain, so to speak—the focus has to be really, really fine and concentrated on the characters that are significant to the falling action and resolution. Every time another name and line of dialogue popped up, my concentration shifted. There is nothing wrong with having a large cast, but you might want to tune it down for a pivotal scene.
- As for the drawing: I’m not an artist, but my best friend is—right now she’s a sophomore in a fancy-schmancy art school in the South—and I have a recommendation. The very second your schedule clears up, sign up for the first available Anatomy and Physiology course your school offers. At the school she goes to, Anatomy is a requirement for every single art major, no matter your concentration. Your drawing will improve when you get a detailed sense of how the human body will move and lay according to its form and structure.