Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Breathless is a (mostly) black and white fantasy adventure comic now in it's eighth chapter. Luckily, as the comic only updates twice a week, you still have time to hop and board and get current before the serious action begins... but I'd hurry if I were you, it doesn't seem far off.

I quite like the story so far, though I do believe the page size ruins the pacing a bit. A typical page runs only four or five panels, and while that might be adequate for other comics there's a great deal of action in breathless meaning that a single fight scene might take several pages - no problem if you're reading a print comic, but a bit drawn out when you consider that those five pages span more than two weeks time. I think the comic would be better served dropping to once-a-week updates and double-sizing each page, but the creator may have other reasons for presenting it as she does. Pacing aside, the dialogue does a wonderful job of distinguishing the cast and advancing the plot and the frequent dream sequences and flashbacks are very well done. At this point in the comic you have a clear understanding of where the plot is headed, as well as an understanding of where the main character is coming from. There are bits of his past that are shadowy, certainly, but I have full faith that we'll be filled in as the story progresses.

This is another one of those comics where the artwork started out good and got better with time, no train wrecks to be seen by clicking "first" with this one. The main difference between chapter one and chapter eight is in shading, which has transformed from a very well executed cross hatching to skillful gray tones. Both styles are pleasing to the eye and support the character designs, but I do think the gray tones help enhance the overall mood. Most importantly for this genre, the artwork captures the action well; clearly illustrating movement, force, and emotion. The character designs are at turns intense and endearing and the backgrounds are both well done and relevant - keeping the attention focused on the characters where it belongs while providing setting and ambiance. Most striking for me are the spirit scenes where the artists has easily captured an ethereal quality that instantly sets the tone.

I would like to see the occasional missed comic message and holiday page taken out of the archive. While I don't mind their inclusion in single shot strips, they really serve no purpose in a story comic beyond yanking the audience out of the fantasy the creator has so carefully crafted. Also, while scanning a couple of the accompanying blog posts I noticed something odd - several of them actually contained a retelling of the displayed comic page. My first thought was that I had missed something and that the retelling was giving details that the art wasn't able to convey. Upon further review, however, I found that not to be the case. I can't speak to the creator's motivations here, but the retelling isn't necessary, the artwork is more than adequate to convey even the more nuanced aspects of the story.

All in all, I'm really enjoying Breathless and hope to someday see this is print form. I'm looking forward to seeing the foreshadowing unfold and the many mysteries solved. As I said before, I'd hop on this one now, I feel there are big events coming.

See you all next week when I review Alaska Robotics