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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).

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on August 16, 2010, in 3 Stars, CG webcomic, comedy webcomic, One Punch Reviews, photo webcomic, sci-fi webcomic, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Not bad for something with only 25 pages, but reminds me very, very much of Gone with the Blastwave (http://www.blastwave-comic.com/), if Gone with the Blastwave were substantially more polished. Both are by creators whose original language isn’t english, both feature the antics of a group of faceless, military-type individuals in the wake of some kind of disaster, and both evoke a monochrome sort of bleakness, and use colour as a kind of emphasis. I find both comics very appealing, visually, but feel like it’s a shame that the writing doesn’t measure up. I get the juxtaposition of “horrific post-apocalyptic setting” and “ZANINESS!” I just wish neither creator had felt the need to make the zaniness the focal point, as it results in something that’s appealing to look at, and that might make you smile now and again, but leaves you wishing it could be more.

  2. I just wish the language was better. I forgive most of it cos of the art. Also the soda cult was a FANTASTIC arc.

  3. HOLY CRAP. That’s one of the most beautiful webcomics (if not THE most) I have ever seen. Zaniness of the plot is my cup of tea, so I guess I will be visiting the captain a lot from now on.

    Now…… Where can I buy that pretty heart coffee mug?…

  4. I think what is actually done is he takes photographs of actors in roughly the same outfits and actually paints over it, not just a few filters and a greenscreen. The only bad result of this is that whoever the ‘actors’ are they don’t always have the most convincing poses and so they come off a little stiff.

  5. Fallout doesn’t have a hyphen.

    PEDANTICMAN AWAY

  6. It is absolutely beautiful visually, but the writing stinks.

    I can get the whole ‘zany, mad-random’ shtick, but it just seems awkward and clunky. In about 4-5 years, people will have no recollection of the cake and other internet memes, so putting that into a comic seriously dates it and limits its shelf life.

    It’s still new, so eventually with time, the writing will match the quality of the artwork.

    • I write to you 6 years (and some spare weeks) after your post and I still remember the cake meme vividly. Getting the early pages of a webcomic “dated” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Might have been if it had stayed just 25 pages long, but when it continues to 244 pages and ongoing then it’s not so bad. I like to make a complete re-read every other year and those lighthearted early pages are the cherries on my cake.

  7. Art looks mostly like painted over photo-manip. So, yeah, he jams all the elements he wants together and then paints over them so they don’t look like a jammed-together mess. The characters are shot with a green screen and just filtered to match the backgrounds. That’s my guess, anyway.

    Yeah, looks good but the zaniness doesn’t really appeal. :/ Too bad.

  8. Reaperoftthenight

    Romantically Apocalyptic isn’t meant to be serious… And the art isn’t just photographs that Alexiuss took, I don’t really think that’d explain the backgrounds or brush strokes, would it? (Or their other pictures on DeviantArt…….) I think 3 out of 5 stars is horribly unfair. It’s meant to be one of those light, crazy stories with illogically awesome characters, and the most amazing art I’ve ever seen. Period.

  9. I believe it would be appropriate to re-review RA at this point. It’s much more than just “random zannyness” now, and Vit has been planning it for a long time. (Heck, even page 11 has a crudload of forwshadowing in it alone, and that was around when this review was made!) At times it may seem as such, but there’s so much meaning in it all that people don’t get the first time reading.

    I can honestly say that if you don’t at least give this comic a chance, you’re missing out on something wonderful and that’s hundreds of times better than this review can show now. Don’t let a year and a half old review make you miss that chance.

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