Friday, November 18, 2011

Webcomic Review: Loaded Dice

In our first ever review of a webcomic, I have chosen a recent addition to my reading list: Loaded Dice written by Olan Suddeth and drawn by Brittany Connolly.

(Image is property of Loaded Dice and its creators; click to link to their comic)

Loaded dice is a webcomic about a group of D&D players and their sadistic DM (I might be generalizing a bit there). Currently the group is on their second adventure, where beastmen have been their primary adversaries, and Steve, the DM, is up to his old tricks. I won't ruin any of the fun for you, but it is a good read, especially for someone with a sadistic DM streak in them, like myself.

Overall the artwork is solid. There is a good level of detail, and the characters are well and uniquely drawn. The only thing I find lacking is real differences between the fantasy and the reality pannels, but that is an aesthetic difference, and one up to individual taste. I like to see visual differences between "the real world" and "the fantasy world." This is something done better, in my opinion, by the original artist, Tiana Jackson, than the current one, Brittany Connolly, but as I said, it is a matter of taste (no offense to you, Brittany, I still think the artwork is good, and a far cry from anything I could dream of attempting).

The writing is also solid. I don't think there's anything exemplary here, its pretty standard fare as far as DMing goes. The writing does, however, recreate that feeling of a D&D session admirably. The tense moments rolling dice, the sadistic DM behind his screen of doom, and the very diverse group of characters. These characters each have their own foibles, but they are also fairly deep (insofar as 80 comics can show us). The puns are....terrible, however. That's kinda the point, and I do love the cheesiness of them.

Now for my arbitrary rating system:

I will rate comics in four categories: Major Plot, that is how the comics connect to one another in a complete sense, Minor Plot, that is how the individual comics stand up on their own (this is a serial work), Artistry (that is the overall beauty of the artwork), and Comic Art (how the artwork works with the comic).

Major Plot: 6 out of 10: The major plot is very good, and feels like a D&D module, as well it should. The one issue I have is that most of the suspense is put into the individual panels, and I feel more can be done between pages to fill out the suspense.

Minor Plot: 7 out of 10: Usually this is very good, most comics have a joke or two, and each bit is able to stand on its own. The use of suspense within each page is good.

Artistry: 8 out of 10: I'm not a great judge of art, but this comic looks good. The characters are realistic looking, and the fantasy elements are fleshed out beautifully.

Comic Art: 6 out of 10: While it looks good, I question how well it works with its subject matter. The first few pages of the adventure look amazingly epic, but that tone dies down swiftly into a more solid and reliable form. High Fantasy, to me, needs that epicness in it somewhere, and it isn't delivered enough in my opinion.

Total Score: 27 out of 40: A better than average webcomic that I think all D&D junkies should read.

That's it for now, until next time

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