Reviews: Dumbing Of Age
Worth the Time
In summary, a great comic whose popularity is down to stellar writing and expressive, distinctive art. If one judges based on actual quality, of plot, characters, art, humor, etc. then you'll find yourself wanting more. If one judges quality by how many minority demographics are shoved into a work, you'll also be very satisfied.
- Characters have fleshed out motivations, personalities, and backstories that make even their less pleasant aspects interesting to read.
- The comics' villains, often family members, do a good job illustrating the dangers of being mentally ill, a woman, or a minority in today's society.
- The comic takes its time with careful plotting, making sure to cover all interesting angles on a given plot point.
- The comic does a good job balancing comedy and drama, making sure the comic rarely gets difficult to read even when difficult things are happening.
- Interestingly, the comic advocates the idea that it is not the responsibility of an abuse victim to end that abuse, instead promoting community as a value and letting characters help each other through trauma and danger.
- A three-month buffer insures a consistent schedule.
- The art improves greatly over time, to the point where earlier strips might be hard to look at on a second binge.
Not Worth the Time
In summary, a slipshod comic whose popularity is propped up purely by awareness of social issues. If one judges quality by how many minority demographics are shoved into a work, you might be satisfied. If one judges based on actual quality, of plot, characters, art, humor, etc. then you'll find yourself wanting.
- Characters are most often unpleasant and abrasive, a failed attempt at quirkiness or relatability that only creates a cast full of Jerkass.
- Villains are boring, predictable, unrealistic, and without any motivation beyond "I am an evil white cis (generally) male and I live purely to oppress people".
- Time within the comic crawls at a snails pace; a day's worth of events takes months to cover, and as such, major plots take years to resolve.
- Deus ex Machina abounds and physics are ignored to solve problems which are beforehand treated (somewhat) seriously.
- Forced humor is thrown haphazardly into dramatic moments, constantly, thus destroying all tension in the scene.
- Characters are often not given agency to solve the personal conflicts they face, making the conclusions dull and unsatisfying when someone with no emotional investment is shoehorned in to save the day.
- The story seems to change according to audience whim and reaction, provoking retcons among other inconsistencies.
- The art degrades steadily throughout the comic until inconsistencies, mistakes, and outright ugly visuals are the norm.