One Punch Reviews #33: Romantically Apocalyptic
If you were, say, stuck in a post-apocalyptic world, there are basically two options at how to approach life. You could either become either a grim n’ gritty loner voyaging the land like a wandering samurai, or you could go insane. The first solution may be inherently cooler, but the second will probably leave you happier. At least, The Captain from Vitaly S. Alexius’ Romantically Apocalyptic seems to be having the time of his life, and he’s complete bonkers. (In this case, the “romantic” in the title refers to the “marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized” definition, rather than the romance one.)
The Captain, who’s dolled up like a Gestapo officer in a gas mask, spends his days with his three officers: the Sniper, the Pilot, and the Engineer. (No, this webcomic isn’t some sort of TF2 fanfiction… at least, I don’t think it is.) While civilization has been ground into a tangled mess of steel girders and crumbled concrete by some apocalyptic even that has yet to be defined, the Captain knows how to keep himself busy. One day, he’ll be reenacting that one scene from Titanic. The next, he’s chilling at the McDonald’s with a giant mutant worm. Life may not be perfect. Yet when things go wrong, sometimes you’ll do well to remember that maybe all you need to make things right is a good cup of coffee.
Alexius’ art comes from a combination of “Photoshop, live actors, dead actors, sexy assistants, greenscreen, a camera, and a Wacom tablet.” In lesser hands, that description would lead to something that looked a little hap-hazard. Alexius, though, is no amateur, and the imagery in Romantically Apocalyptic comes together surprisingly well. I’m guessing that a lot of the scenes are photographs taken by Alexius and run through a photoshop filter. If so, the sources aren’t glaringly obvious, and Alexius does a great job depicting a world, not unlike the one found in Fallout 3, dominated by rows and rows of burned out buildings and rendered in a gloomy black-and-white. Some of the angles are pretty impressive. There’s a ground-view shot in the midst of a circle of abandoned towers that heightens the sense of emptiness. Alexius arranges these panels in long vertical sequences, which gives Romantically Apocalyptic a strongly cinematic flavor.
Unfortunately, this is a humor comic, and the humor can get awfully cutesy. Like, “I Can Haz a Cheeseburger” cutesy. Romantically Apocalyptic includes frequent references to internet short-hand, and the jokes can best be described by that one word that tends to send chills down my spine: “random.” There’s a running gag, for example, where cake is prominently involved, and those of you who have lived long enough to see the “cake is a lie” joke beaten to death over and over again by humor-impaired fanboys are right to be wary. It can, though, be brushed off as a sort of Captain-vision, though. I mean, the guy’s been exposed to high levels of radiation, which can cloud one’s perception on things. Besides, when you’re dealing with soda-worshiping cults and space aliens on a regular basis, maybe it makes the most sense in the world to let go of reality just a little bit.
Final Grade: 3 stars (out of 5).