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One Punch Reviews #51: Aikonia

When I first started this site, one of the most exciting new artists to appear on the webcomics scene was Awkward Zombie‘s Katie Tiedrich. Even if you didn’t like video game comics, you had to admire her fun character designs, her sense of comic timing, and her unique character personalities. Marth and Roy, for example, were less the characters from Fire Emblem and more Teidrich’s own creations who just happened to look like somewhat familiar video game characters.

It made several of us wonder: how would Katie Teidrich be able to handle original characters? We sort of get a taste of that with Aikonia, a fantasy webcomic illustrated by Ms. Teidrich but is written and developed by a team from MADSOFT Games, LLC (who are working up to a game release based on the world established in the comic).

It pains me greatly to say this: Ms. Teidrich’s style is all wrong for this comic. Aikonia is set in a dark, joyless world where the authority figures are corrupt two-timing villains, people are sacrificed in pentagrams, and there’s a graveyard where students who have been killed by magic have been buried. It’s like Harry Potter without Bertie Bott’s Beans, talking portraits, mail delivery owls, Quidditch, or anything else that might make witchcraft and wizardry seem like a fun career path for a young mage to pursue.

As a result, Teidrich never really gets a chance to draw what she’s good at. All the characters are permanently scowling, which makes them even more difficult to tell apart since everyone is draped in the same black robes. You learn to relish the few comedic beats, such as the all too brief scene where Ariel, a possessed girl who becomes the focal point of the story, begins to vamp it up. It’s not funny, but at least someone in the story is showing some personality beyond grimly ascetic. It’s almost like you’re reading Gormenghast as illustrated by Jim Davis.

Outside of that, Aikonia is fairly predictable fantasy fare. It’s about a council of mages trying to unleash an ancient magic to gain more power. Things don’t go as planned, people start suspecting that illicit doings are afoot, etc. Fantasy is one of those genres that thrives on rehashing the same familiar story beats while keeping the good-vs.-evil dichotomy as black and white as possible. The trick is that you have to make the readers care about where all of this is going … and, sadly, the characters in Aikonia are so flat that having that world ruled by the far livelier Ariel would actually be a welcome improvement.

Rating: 2 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 11, 2011, in 2 Stars, action webcomic, adventure webcomic, fantasy webcomic, One Punch Reviews, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Poor Katie. Her art style really is wasted on this kind of story. I read some of it about a year ago and thought it was boring as hell.

  2. Thanks for the review!
    There’s actually a lot more going on than your basic good vs. evil, but all that will be revealed later in the comic 🙂
    As for Katie’s art style, I see why you’d think it wouldn’t match the story, and that’s understandable. The reason we made that decision is because we wanted to open the comic to a larger audience. The contrast between Katie’s colourful art style and the dark storyline is, to me, quite refreshing.

    • I have to agree with this man here – I’ve been following it since the beginning and the story is still building. It is similar to how Lord of the Rings finally takes off after you get past that “Tom Bombadil” part (or for those who haven’t read the book, it’s when the hobbits finally arrive at the Prancing Pony in the first movie). The comic’s storyline is not really ready for a real review, and most of the characters’ character hasn’t yet been revealed (which is likely the reason for the “Characters” page).

      Yes, it does seem like it is taking a while for the story to develop, but it only updates once a week. If Dr. McNinja or the now-finished Ratfist had only updated once a week, it is likely we wouldn’t yet know how Gordito get his mustache and we would still be waiting for Ricky to finish chopping off his Tail, respectively. Katie has her own comic to update as well, so once-a-week is fair enough indeed.

  3. I love Teidrich’s art! She is so on my wish list for creators I’d want to work with.

  4. Hmm, I don’t think her art style is the issue here, and the writing is interesting enough to be serviceable. I really think it just has to do with how she lays out her pages and the angles she draws.

    This page ( http://www.aikoniacomic.com/index.php?id=16 ) for example could be much better if panels 7-11 were on their own page, or even panels 8 and 9 were bigger than the rest. I think there are too many panels drawn in each page of the comic. If there were less panels per page, allowing for bigger moments to have bigger panels, this comic would flow more easily and would seem more impactful.

    As for angles, I noticed that in the art the proverbial camera doesn’t really move at all from a straight on view, aside from the occasional zoom out. If some over-the-shoulder shots replaced some of the angles, or even the extreme bird’s eye view or worm’s view, it would make the scenes look more dramatic and less mundane.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. I’m a fan of Katie Tiedrich’s so personally I’ll keep reading, haha. This is my first time commenting here, but I love reading your reviews!

  5. Sad but true.

  6. Tiedrich. Her last name is Tiedrich. NOT “Teidrich”. It’s like calling “El Santo” “El Sanot”. Quite similar, but still very wrong. 😉

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