The Further Adventures of VOLTES V

 Creator/s: "BuddyParaiso"
Run: 12/11-current
Schedule: About three times a week?

Website: The large banner at the top of the site looks pretty cool, although it's weird that it says "New Adventures" when the comic's official title appears to be "Further Adventures." I also like the idea of the toy navigation buttons, although they should say on them what function they serve.

The creator's comments are in a dark-colored font, which makes them impossible to read against the dark background without highlighting the text. A white or light-gray font would be better.

I also don't know exactly what the comic's update schedule is. The creator's posted 25 pages in about two months of time, so I guess the comic updates about three times a week.

Writing: It's a fan-fiction continuation of a Japanese show called Chodenji Machine Voltes V, which explains the "Further" part of the webcomic's title, but I can't tell if this is supposed to be a normal mecha story or a mecha parody. The comic features mechas from Voltron, Macross, and Mazinger Z, presenting it as a sort of mecha crossover comic, although it never explicitly labels itself as such or explains the crossover. The script mangles the English language, and the plot's incomprehensible, so I guess it could be camp, but it isn't funny or charming like I'd expect camp to be, so I dunno.

The comic throws a team of mecha-pilots at us that fit exactly into the TV Tropes "Five-Man Band" description. It's just about the most cliché thing possible. The team also literally has its own Aquaman. I used to visit TV Tropes fairly frequently, and reading this webcomic, I feel like I stepped through a gateway into TV Tropes Hell. Don't expect to find a shred of originality in this comic's writing.

After an unnecessary page-and-a-half monologue filling the reader in about Chodenji Machine Voltes V, the comic introduces the cast via a series of full-page illustrations of each individual character and their vehicle. Five characters and five vehicles comes out to 10 pages, and it slows the narrative down to a halt. I think this is the worst way possible to introduce characters. These illustrations belong in a cast page or gallery section, not in the actual comic.

The comic's first fight scene starts with Mark, a member of the VOLTES V team, attacking the Mazinger Z mecha, a good guy, out the blue just to prove that the VOLTES V mechas are superior. This occurs right in the middle of a city, and the VOLTES V team has to actively prevent Mark from killing tons of civilians. I find it completely unbelievable that someone so obviously deranged would ever be part of an elite superhero team in control of high-tech weaponry. Although, Mark is an American character in a team of Japanese characters, so I have to wonder if this is intended as a form of America-bashing. If so, it's pretty pathetic.

The dialogue's actually conceptually pretty passable (if cliché), but the lousy English ruins any appeal it might have had. There are also a ton of typos and spelling mistakes throughout the comic.

Art: The CG artwork's really well-done, making this one of the best-looking CG comics I've seen. It looks like the creator actually put some effort into the digital artwork, and didn't just lazily crank out mediocre pages from a comic-generator program. The comic also has a catch, in that the mechas are photographs of toys. I've never seen a comic combine digital artwork with photography like this, so it's pretty cool, and the special effects added to the toys look great. This top panel takes it too far, though, by adding hand-drawn people -- three mediums in one panel is one medium too many.

I'm baffled at the illustrations of the characters floating in the sky. This page of Mark riding a horse, for example, would be a lot cooler if the context wasn't completely ridiculous. And Daijiro looks worse than the other characters. His legs are lumpy and weird, and he seems older than his profile says he is. But overall, the artwork's fine and has a fun, innocent feel.

I don't like how some of the speech bubbles are transparent, like in this page. It makes the dialogue harder to read and doesn't add anything. And I'm not gonna even try to figure out what the words on this plaque say. When lettering, readability should always be the primary concern.

Overall: I don't see this comic as having any appeal outside of mecha fans, but it seems to do an okay job of catering to that niche. The amount of effort put into the writing is very low, and consists of the creator throwing in just enough clichés and cameos to keep the story going. Adding more humor would probably be helpful, as the comic takes itself too seriously to qualify as camp.


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