Reviews: Dragon Ball Multiverse
It's good, but has some bugs in it
An online buddy of told me about DBM like a few years ago. I checked it out and was blown away by the artwork and the concept of alternate universes, which I admit I love in fiction. The characters I felt were mostly in character and it went a different path from DBGT, which I didn't care for. However once I caught up to the current chapters (at the time) the weaknesses really started to show. DBM's major weakness is time. It uploads three pages a week, sometimes four during specials. It takes weeks or even a month for one chapter to get done. Keep in mind DB fights can take a long time. One big fight could last a whole chapter, which means on some weeks you could get a page about one character dodging another character. It makes it seem like you're on one fight for weeks. DBM's second weakness is it breaks up chapters with specials about the different alternate universes. The concept sounds cool, but the specials are usually very lacking. For example a universe where Cell won instead Gohan. The special about that was Cell killing all the heroes in that universe. It doesn't tell you what happened afterward. We don't know if he fought Babidi or Buu or if he traveled the universe. The specials can take just as long as regular chapters finish. You can be on a special for weeks or months, which adds very little to character development or show any interesting things about that universe. The third weakness is it wastes a lot of interesting characters for more generic ones. There is a universe where Goku never came to Earth and the humans had to fight all the villains of the series and actually won. Krillin, Yamecha, and Tien are all bad asses who stopped Red Ribbon army, the Saiyans, Cooler, and Babidi on their own without the Saiyans or Piccolo. The story has yet to even develop these characters at all and we know nothing about how they did it. There is another universe where there warrior who used super advance technology that can actually kill strong warriors like SS 3 and higher. They are not developed either. There are other universes wasted. Too much focus in put on universe where Vegito never defused. Overall DBM is a decent fan comic. It has good ideas, interesting concept, and a fun alternative from DBGT. There are some major problems that prevent it from achieving its full potential and possibly dooms it to obscurity.
Could Have Been So Much More.
I'll start this review right off the bat by saying I only got into DBM for two reasons: The basic concept and the artwork. The former is a letdown because many universes are just such generic ideas (Oh wow, a universe where Bojack won. Oh look, a universe where Cell won. The creativity is just astounding!) There are only three universes in the tournament that seem interesting, and they barely get any attention. And the latter might not be a viable reason to like the series for much longer since Gogeta is leaving as the artist. The main problem is the plot and story telling. Salagir's writing really isn't worthy of praise. The pacing is awful, not helped by the absolutely useless specials that break up the tournament plot. The specials give zero new information on the universes. Take the recent U13 special for example: Who the hell couldn't have figured out that Kakarot killed everyone on Earth? We didn't need to waste an entire chapter on yet another special where all the heroes are brutally murdered. Hey, here's an interesting idea, why don;t you show how the hell Vegeta and Kakarot became Super Saiyans? Next the characters, good God does Salagir like to play favourites. He's perpetually jacking off to his little pet character Vegito and he's pretty much made Bra into his personal waifu Jerk Sue. This wouldn't be so bad if the comic didn't seem to practically revolve around U16 (In addition to an entire fic all about Salagir's little pet universe), where all other characters that people are actually interested in get pushed by the wayside to shine the spotlight's on that asshole Vegito and his Jerkass daughter. And don't even get me started on how badly they overhype Broly. Characters like the Super Namek, or the Super Humans, or the Tech Warrior universe would all make for interesting plots/specials, but they BARELY get any screentime, and we know virtually nothing about them. So in conclusion, if DBM doesn't get a decent replacement artist then the series will just plummet in popularity. The writing needs desperate improvement in pacing, and Salagir really needs to stop showering his Creators Pet's with so much focus. If you like it, fine, I can see some appeal. But personally I feel you'd be better off reading DBZ fic's like Honor Trip or Bringer of Death.
Akira Toriyama would be proud.
When I heard about Dragon Ball Multiverse, I initially brushed it off as some amatuer attempt at a Dragon Ball continuation. When I actually did an Archive Binge, however, I found myself quite surprised. It's actually pretty good. The plot is simple: a group of aliens find a way to go to multiple universes and use it to create a tournament featuring the best of the best. Some universes are plain (Villain X kills everyone and rules the Earth seems to be a popular varient), others are interesting (like one where there are no Sayjins or Namekins), and others that I never even got (Is U1 supposed to be one universe's Kais or the Kais ruling over the multiverse? What are the Amazon fighters from?). The main Dragonball cast is still here, but the plot mostly focuses on U16, the universe where Vegeta and Goku never unfused and took up Pan and Bra as his apprentices. While this is okay for the most part, it gets confusing when you can't tell whether the U16 or U18 cast is speaking. At some points, I lost track of which universe each character was from; there should really be a cheat sheet or something that tells us what makes this universe different from the others, as well as listing the fighters in them. But that's just my opinion. Action, as expected from a Dragon Ball story, is... well, actiony. Humor is hit-and-miss; while some jokes are good (Mary Sue vs. Arale, for instance), others fall flat (the "monster under the bed" running gag gets old quickly). The writers often use the Japanese romanizations of the cast's names, so anybody who prefers "Kakarot" and "Bardock" over "Kakarotto" and "Baddack" will be quite dissapointed. Art varies between the "pretty faithful to the original designs" main comic to the "Tim Buckley and Rob Liefeld collaboration" omake comics. Needless to say, I was left hanging when I finished my archive binge - while a regular manga might have 15-20 pages per week, this webcomic gives us three per week. I'd complain about this more, but it's a Dragon Ball webcomic. It's annoying, but par for the course. In conclusion, Dragon Ball Multiverse is a good comic - it's undoubtedly about the fighting, and that's what realy counts in any Dragon Ball Z adaption. It drags on a bit and some parts aren't that good, but it's overall an excellent read.
The art is what sells it.
Don't get me wrong, the premise Salagir presents of the multiversal tournament is an ingenius one. Taking the various What If stories seen in fan fictions and expanding them into a multiversal tournament is a great idea. However his writing is far from perfect as it does occasionally drift into fan fiction mode. This is particularly noticable in the back story chapters (written by Salagir without Gogeta jr.'s art). Take the back story for universe 17 and universe 6 (Cell and Bojack's world respectively), a slaughter fest of the villains destroying the Z fighters isn't necessary; it's obvious that Cell and Bojack will kill everyone. A more creative story would be showing what happens when their respective sagas end? How does Cell, for example, handle opponents like Bojack and Babidi when the time comes? Did they have to worry about hildegarn? Did they wake up Broly a la Broly: second coming film/chapter 12 of universe 16 and 18? We never find out information like this. Another issue with the story are the limiters placed on the characters (particularly Goku and Vegeta of the manga-based universe 18) which are based on age. Some commenters believe that neither character needs to be limited. Personally though, I respect the limits as long as they are explained (which they haven't been). How old does one have to be for the limit to be reached? Goku is chronologically 5 years younger than Vegeta. Add to that the year Goku was dead in the Saiyan Saga, the time they spent in the hyperbolic time chamber, and Goku's 7 years of being dead after the Cell saga he (being 11 to 12 years younger) should have reached his limit later than Vegeta did. Dragon Ball is known for it's plot holes and Salagir seems to be exacerbating this issue. If dragonball-multiverse were a fan fiction or illustrated by a less talented artist the comic wouldn't receive all of the attention that it's getting. Salagir needs to keep this in mind before he gets to the point where he takes his viewers for granted.