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Friday, March 22, 2013

Webcomic Review: My Life at War

Its time for another Webcomic Review.  (At some point I really should standardize an update time for this, but today is not that day).

Today I'm looking at a comic I've recently discovered called My Life At War

(Image is property of the comic's creators, Click banner to link to their website)

MLAT is a comic about a group of mercenaries who fight war for profit using giant mechs called Arms (probably named for the fact they have one arm).  In this world, rank is determined by how much stock you have, not by merit or your superior liking you.  Normally, I'd go into great detail about the plot of this story, but the comic does a much better job of that itself, so I thoroughly recommend reading it.

The art style of this comic is absolutely wonderful.  Each page is beautifully laid out and the details are absolutely stunning.  A post by the writer mentioned that the artist takes between 8 and 10 hours on each page, and that effort and time shows through.  Particular detail is given to the mechs and weapon effects (there are a few visceral scenes of death and destruction as well that are very well done). 

The writing on this work is also very solid.  The world created behind the scenes is amazing and fleshed out. Knowing more than a few ex-soldiers and one ex-military contractor, the characters seem very organic and real (if not flavored by the world they grew up in).  The additional materials and occasional references in update posts show the amount of work that went in to creating this world.

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 7 of 10:  The overall plot of this comic is very intricate and interesting.  The creators have made a very interesting world, even if it has similarities to our own world.  I would say that the plot of this webcomic is its primary focus, with the excellent artistry as a secondary concern.  That said, it looses points for its very slow update cycle (its updated once weekly).

Minor Plot 4 of 10:  Each individual strip of this comic is not able to stand on its own.  There are several examples of well laid out strips that are full of excitement and action, but there are just as many that don't make any sense out of context, and shouldn't be viewed alone.  Add this to the slow update cycle, and you could be left with a page up that makes little sense when viewed on its own.  There have been times when the author has had to explain some things about the world.  

Artistry 8 of 10:  The art of this strip is very well constructed, and the time effort is readily apparent.  Each panel is quite beautiful and the level of detail is very high.  The comic itself shows the 8 to 10 hour creation time.

Comic Art 10 of 10:  This comic has big mechs and is techporn at its finest.  The art style is very appropriate for this, and the panels are always well laid out and full of action.  There are no improvements I can think of for the art of this comic.

Total Score 29 of 40:  This is a very solid webcomic that is worth reading.  I only wish that it updated more frequently.  The art style is a pleasure to behold, and the overall plot of the comic is interesting.  

-VG

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