This month’s edition of Around the Web features a webcomic called “Catspaw.” It is written by John C. Hocking, and drawn by Storn A. Cook. Their website says that it is updated every Tuesday, so I’ll see if that is true come tomorrow.
The story is about a trader named Talene, who comes from a land called Akuronda, the land of 27 Tribes. Traveling with her is an unnamed bodyguard. They travel to the royal city of Janarax, where they are greeted by a Lord Ambassador, who promises her that he will help her sell her gems and invites her to the Debutante Ball that night. Instead, Talene meets with a young woman that gives her something called the Philosopher’s Spike. Immediately, Talene and her bodyguard have a fight, and kill several assassins. After the battle, they go out for a drink. And that’s the end of Chapter 1. Chapter 2 starts with Talene lying in bed, and the Philosopher’s Spike speaks to her, telling her that there is violence hidden in her and she needs to wake up and let it out. More assassins break into her room. She fights them off for a bit, then her bodyguard comes to her aid. And that is where it currently leaves off.
First, the art is pretty. The fight scenes are nicely drawn. Which is a good thing, since they make up 7 of the 15 pages of the comic. And there lies my issue with this web comic. There’s very little characterization. We know both of the characters can fight and kill people, and that Talene is young because we are told that she is young. Oh, and she has a destiny ahead of her, but that’s not characterization. That is foreshadowing. If the writer doesn’t want to dive into what has previously happened to these characters to make them who they are, then that needs to come from the dialogue, and how they speak and what they say. And why don’t we know the bodyguard’s name? The end of chapter 1 is a perfect time for Talene to mention his name, but she doesn’t. So, are we to assume that she doesn’t know his name? And if so, why isn’t that a plot point from the beginning. It’d add some mystery to him, and leave open a way to develop that character.
But maybe I just demand too much characterization when reading an original story from the beginning. It’s not too late to develop the characters, and at least the story is focused. I would recommend taking a look at this if you’re bored and are a fan of fight scenes.