The Webcomic Overlook #48: Pinky TA
I should put together a list of early warning signs if a webcomic is going to be terrible or not. I speculated on my review of Antics that telltale signature is if the first chapter is spent in the company of airheaded girls who gossip, giggle, and do nothing tho forward the plot. However, an even bigger sign are shamelessly exploitative ads. Exiern is one of the biggest offenders. Its creator bought unavoidable ad space on what seemed like every webcomic site in existence. Every one of those ads featured its heroine half-naked. A rule of thumb with movies is that if bare flesh is flashed within the first 10 minutes, then you’re in for a particularly bad movie. The same rule can be modified for webcomics: if the comic has to resort to ads with naked girls to draw you in, then the writer is desperate to get new readers to his webcomic because the writing and the art just isn’t doing the trick.
Exiern, though, is hardly the only webcomic to try this shamelss ploy. If you’ve spent any time hanging around Drunk Duck, you may notice ads of a pink-haired gal and substantial focus on … um … all that junk inside her trunk. Now, I’d like to apologize ahead of time. This review may contain more crude language than I typically write. I stylize this blog so that it’s generally PG. But kids, you can go ahead and sit this one out. It’s summer. shouldn’t you be outside playing marbles or hula hoops or pogs or whatever it is kids do these days? (Who am I fooling? These disclaimers are just drawing you in like flies to honey, aren’t they?)
Why, you ask? Well, when the webcomic being reviewed is called Pinky TA, you better believe it’s not about a brainless albino lab rat who suddenly becomes a teacher’s assistant. If you have any doubts — any doubts at all — about the raison d’être for this particular comic, I refer you to the sample art immediately below.
You may have just glanced at the rest of the pictures in this review and you’re no doubt saying to yourself, “Goddamn, El Santo, obviously you’re a big perv. Getting sample images of the main character flashing her ass. Tut tut!” Au contraire, mes amis. I am not exaggerating one bit when I say that Pinky TA is about 80% fanservice. A good percentage of those being ass shots. And it’s not like creator Michael John Morris is actually repentant. I mean … look at that title! Every single syllable is a double entendre! OK, that “-y” is a bit safe, but I’m sure I could twist that into something dirty.
In his introduction, Mssr. Morris explains that “Pinky TA follows the adventures of Pinky: a sexy Pink haired Commando, and her arch nemesis Cc.” It takes place in an alternative version of the 1920’s, where “our World War One hasn’t happened. Pinky is an officer in the Imperial Crimean Armoured Cavalry: the Crimean Empire is at war with the Franco-Austrian Alliance, they’re fighting for dominance in Europe, and around the world wherever they have colonies and influence.”
So I guess in Pinky TA world, if the Great War hasn’t torn apart Europe armies would be riding around in converted AT-STs. Er, I mean S.S.V.5’s. And women would actually serve in the military. And they wouldn’t be court-marshalled for walking around in leather bras and thongs. And there would actually BE thongs in the 1920’s. And passengers would be booking trips on battleships in active service. In short, Pinky TA’s Roaring Twenties is more kickass than the real world’s.
While the story allegedly takes place in the 1920’s, everything feels like they’re cobbled together from several eras. Morris is basically a huge vehicle nut. If he thinks something looked cool on the History Channel, it’s making its way into his comic, goddammit! He throws in some Soviet helicopters and WWII Panzer tanks. What, he Cierva C.19 Autogyro and Mark IV not good enough for you, chief? The only vehicles that seem appropriate for their period are the battlecruisers. The battleship Buccaneer, which plays a prominent role in the story, looks like a reasonable facsimile of the beautiful SMS Graf Spee. I’ll give Morris credit where it’s due: his renditions of naval vessels are phenomenal.
The anachronisms aren’t limited to the vehicles. I assume that even in this version of the 1920’s, cathode ray tubes have only been just invented and won’t be turned into televisions for a long time. Even if there are televisions, I think I wouldn’t be wrong in assuming that The Simpsons won’t be on the air for another 60 years or so. Then why in the world would anyone use “Jebus” as a euphemism?
However, the biggest anachronism of all is the main character, Colonel Pinky (seriously). Along with the aforementioned thong-themed uniform, her earliest incarnation includes an outrageous Lita Ford hairstyle. She looks like a time traveler from the 1980’s. Plus, she seems like she’s … um … let’s say she looks like someone with non-traditional preferences. As in, a total lesbian. The segments where she moons over a fellow named Vlad are easily the most unrealistic segments of the comic. I assume Pinky is an unholy amalgam of Heavy Metal 2000‘s Julie and Tank Girl. However, this can’t be for certain since her personality and her dialect are all over the place.
Pinky also has a very lax work ethic. She spends a lot of time in the initial story arc lying in bed and changing her clothes for an evening soiree. Gratuitous? It would be if Pinky looked reasonably attractive. She tends to look like Lady Elaine Fairchild with Ross Perot ears. (Her appearance won’t improve until Chapter 6.) While Pinky’s portrayed as a competent soldier, she also seems to lack any ambition. Yet, through some dumb, Flashman-like luck, she’s been promoted to a position where she’s sent on covert missions. Yes, life is good for our little Pinky. Or is it?
Pinky’s archnemesis is a professional rival by the name of Cc. I was ready to crack a joke about how her name being an e-mail forwarding field, but, as it happens, the origin of her name is far, far stupider. So there goes my mildly humorous anecdote. The first thing apparent with Cc is that, compared with Pinky, she’s got a tad less ass inside them jeans and breast inside them shirt. Make no mistake, it’s still ample. Yet I wondered if perhaps her antagonism may have been driven by boob envy. With the close-cropped haircut and the piercings, Cc manages to look even more butch than Pinky, which I hadn’t thought was possible. Her rivalry with Pinky is significant, I suppose, although I forgot that Cc even existed half the time.
By the time the first story arc ends, it seems that Pinky TA has stopped being a webcomic and is now a webtoon. A very cheap webtoon. The sort that would be rated 2 on Newgrounds. Each webtoon is basically the same. In the first installment, the toon is mostly footage of the S.S.V.5., walking. The second toon? Mostly a camel, walking. And the third? A car, running. Ending a story arc on a webtoon is not a bad idea, but shouldn’t something, you know … happen?
Morris seems to totally drop the ball when he’s required to depict emotion of any kind. This party scene, for example. Can’t you feel the sizzling tension? Of course not. The dialogue may say “What the f*ck were you up to?! You f*cked up my contact with Kincaid.” But the body language says nothing more than “I have suffered a grand mal stroke and thus am unable to move any of my facial muscles.” The follow-up page is equally laughable, mainly for its painful attempt at “action.”
And speaking of “action,” I was most disappointed in a particular catfight sequence. This fight should be Morris’ crowning achievement. After all, it plays into his passions: action and plenty of T&A. It’s not like Morris isn’t trying to titillate us, either. There’s clothes ripping, crotch shots, ass shots, bare thighs, and underboob by the bucketloads. BUCKETLOADS. Yet, this comes off as one of the most unsexy, frozen action sequences ever depicted. It’s like someone found two mannequins and decided to play a prank on the employees by putting them in lewd positions. And … that dialogue. For those of you too chicken to click onto any of those links, here’s an unadulterated transcript of the fight:
“You won’t stab me. I have you.”
“Nice move eh?”
“You say that a lot, but this was the last time.”
Riveting! And, if I may say so, sensuous.
And yet, Pinky TA partially redeems itself by the time I got to the last two chapters. It helps that, by Chapter 6, Pinky ditched the lesbo haircut in favor of a more sensible and far sexier Lara Croft ponytail. The chapter, which follows Pinky’s career before she became a sort of special-ops soldier, is also surprisingly cohesive and introduces a few characters who are actually likable.
Also, at about that time, I’d gotten used to the idea that the comic made no goddamn sense. And it was clear Mssr. Morris has having a ball, just throwing whatever bats*** crazy ideas he had against the wall and running with it. Seriously, giant war machines painted in festive designs? Why not? Some sort of hallucination where Pinky’s mom is a cat? Sure! And Pinky in a chainmail bikini and riding a dragon straight out of the movie poster for Heavy Metal? Groovy! And Morris, stop bogarting the good stuff!
Morris gets needlessly prosaic at times, filling up a huge illustration with text and forgetting that one of the advantages of a good comic is actually showing the action. Yet the craziness finally got to me, and I was ready to roll with the blows. I accepted that Pinky was basically a poor man’s Flashman, lucking her way into every situation and coming out unscathed. I forgave all the technological and cultural anachronisms and chalked it up to stupid fun. Hell, I raised this review to 2 stars from my original, unpublished assessment of 1 star.
I fact, I find Pinky TA to be very comparable with my reading experience of All Star Batman & Robin. Many reviewers have dubbed Frank Miller & Jim Lee’s collaboration to be the worst Batman series in recent history. They guy’s depicted to be a deranged psychopath who kidnaps little kids and sexes the ladies after a good brawl. Heck, he actually laughs like a lunatic while Joker is depicted as a rather grim and humorless fellow. I have a hard time believing that Miller ever took this project seriously. It’s far more believable that this is a big middle finger to someone. Yet, by the time the 50th character utters the timeless phrase “Goddamn Batman,” by the time Batman and Robin paint themselves yellow to beat up the Green Lantern, I was fully baptized in the insanity… not unlike how Robin in the comic eventually accepts his destiny to be a total nutcase. Yes, the comic was terrible. But goddamn if I wasn’t looking forward to the next chapter.
I look at Pinky TA the same way. It’s not any good. But it’s so very bad in all the right ways. If this review has enticed you to check it out in any way, I suggest you start with chapters 6 and 7 first. Trust me, you won’t miss much. The go back to the beginning, if you dare. Just be wary when Drunk Dunk redirects you to the ads. The “Go Back” link? It DOESN’T WORK LIKE IT’S SUPPOSED TO.
Rating: 2 Stars
Posted on July 20, 2008, in 2 Stars, action webcomic, adventure webcomic, fanservice, sci-fi webcomic, The Webcomic Overlook, Uncategorized, WCO Big Review, webcomics and tagged Pinky TA. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.