Reviews: Friendly Hostility
Even better than its predecessor. (Somehow.)
Quite honestly, I was a little sceptical about Friendly Hostility to begin with. I was a big fan of the author's previous comic, Boy Meets Boy, and I honestly didn't think that she could write anything better. Luckily, though, I was proven wrong, big-time. Fox and Collin are great protagonists, and it's easy to care about most, if not all, of the characters. They're all very real, and the Character Development is superb. From reading the main page, I had learned that the last year or so of the comic was drastically Darker And Edgier, but oddly enough, I didn't really pick up on this. Sure, Fox and Collin's relationship does become increasingly rocky (and let's not even get into where it goes in Other Peoples Business), but I choose to believe that the two of them make it work somehow. (Yes, against the odds and everything.) Oh, and a tip? Take the author's advice and listen to this song when you read the final comic. It just seems to cap off the whole thing perfectly.
Friendly Hostility is great fun. The two main characters are hugely likeable despite their pretty glaring faults, the supporting cast are quirky and affable, and even if you don't like a character you can at least appreciate their point of view. The Character Development is extremely strong. You care about the characters you like intensely - and you despise the characters you hate with a passion. Rarely, if ever, will a character leave you going "Meh." The plot is extremely well written - there's never really a point where you think the creator must have been making it up as she went along. The balance in the sci-fi and supernatural elements ensure it never overpowers a very human story - in fact, they accentuate it. As funny as most of the comic is, the sad scenes deliver a real tug to the heartstrings. Even the most ridiculous twists in the plot seem perfectly suited to the world of FH. With that said...now the nitpicks. Oddly enough, nearly every nitpick is a flip side to something the comic does very well, in a victim-of-its-own-success type of way. Every now and then, FH falls victim to Out Of Focus and Spotlight Stealing Squad - for example, Rudd's family get an insane amount of panel space, but Collin vanishes for huge stretches of time over the summer... then both Collin and Fox tend to vanish towards the end of the comic, except for when they're angsting. Perhaps it was getting more difficult to write their story as the writer switched gears for Other Peoples Business. Eventually, you will come across an arc that you hate, simply because you hate the character involved. For me, this was Arath - every scene of him dripping poison in Collin's ear was PAINFUL. And then there's the ending. You will love it, or you will be left feeling like the whole thing was a Shaggy Dog Story. It's undeniably a triumph of Character Development and employs some terrific Foreshadowing, but damn is it depressing. Basically, you have just read a comic about a terrific relationship hitting the rocks. The comics after November 2008 become increasingly melodramatic/realistic, and if you read FH for the romance or comedy, I'd advise you to pull up there and save yourself some heartache (and avoid the Darker And Edgier OPB).