Creator/s: Marx Winters
Run: 2/12-current
Schedule: M/Th/Sa

Website: It has an unusual design, where the curved black shape around the home page looks like a tablet or some kind of portable game console. The color scheme of light blue, dark blue, and purple is also out of the ordinary, and it gives some color to a webcomic that has grayscale pages. The Pokémon and Pokéballs at the top of page are also a smart decision choice, as they let the reader know right away that this is a Pokémon webcomic.

The webcomic's Facebook page is more active than usual. In addition to updating when new pages are posted, the creator's been engaging with readers, asking Pokémon-related questions such as, "If you could make a Pokémon with any type-combo. What would it be?" and "If you could have a Pokémon movie where one Legendary battles another, in uninterupted epicness, which two would you pick to duke it out?" He also started a contest where he offered $50 to whoever made the best fan art or costume. (You can see what the winner came up with here.) The page currently has 770 Likes, so the creator's approach seems to be working.

Lastly, I don't like the webcomic's title. It's unclear what LAND//SKY's supposed to refer to, and it doesn't give a potential reader any idea of what the webcomic's about. My guess is that it's related to the protagonists' names, as Xander and Lexi sounds similar to LAND//SKY, but that isn't obvious. I also don't get what the deal with the double-slash and capital letters is.

Writing: Pokémon's been a prominent part of webcomics for a long time. For example, Mokepon and Pokémon-X are the most popular webcomics on Smack Jeeves and Comic Genesis, respectively. The reactions to Pokémon's popularity has been mixed, as while a lot of creators are eager to jump on the Pokémon bandwagon, others seem somewhat resentful of the attention Pokémon webcomics get. "Sunbear" of the Smack Jeeves forums is one of the people to bring up this issue recently, remarking, "I'm not bitter at all I just know my comic will never have 4000 smackjeeves fans like pokemon comics will ? It's just a fact." In any case, LAND//SKY seems like it should be well-positioned to take advantage of a rabid Pokémon fanbase.

Unfortunately, the pacing in this webcomic is nothing short of glacial. After 15 months, three chapters, and 93 pages, LAND//SKY still doesn't have character development, world-building, or a plot. Instead, the story focuses on several insignificant Pokémon battles, where the main characters defeat overconfident strangers they meet while wandering around. Readers who've played the Pokémon games will be familiar with this setup; however, while a trainer battle in-game should only last about a minute, these miscellaneous encounters take more than a month's worth of updates to complete. Occasionally, the creator will tease readers by briefly introducing mysterious characters, such as a group of shadowy trainers, a shadowy guy with a beard, a shadowy guy with glowing eyes, some random trainers the comic follows for five pages, and a toddler who randomly shows up. While the presence of these characters suggests that the creator has some sort of plot in mind, with the way things have been going, I wouldn't be surprised if it takes years before readers find out who they are. Xander and Lexi also desperately need to have their personalities fleshed out more, as readers learn everything there is to know about them on the first page.

Some of the webcomic's scenes aren't thought out well. For example, Siarra and an old guy get in a confrontation over a named attack a Pokémon uses, but it's a flimsy context because having named attacks is a gamist notion that doesn't make much sense in a more realistic situation like this. Then there's the panel where Siarra gives Xander an intimidating look; it's unclear how she communicates with her eyes so effectively when she's wearing sunglasses. The main problem, though, is that the creator gives the twins a tragic backstory by making them orphans raised by their older sister, but the situation isn't presented as having any significant consequences. Instead, Xander and Lexi are conveniently given free hotel rooms wherever they go, and they're never shown being concerned about eating or having any sort of responsibilities. At 17, they're old enough to have jobs, so it's not particularly tragic that they get to goof around while their dad seems to be sending them an endless supply of money.

Art: The creator's terrific at anatomy and inking, drawing some of the better-looking figures I've seen lately while giving the characters a cartoonish appearance by using thick lines. The Pokémon battles are awesome, with impressive special attacks and a good variety of poses. There are a few issues with the figures that could use some work, though. I'm not a fan of cheek-mouths and snout-noses, as I've expressed in some of my previous reviews, and the twins' age is too ambiguous, especially in the earlier pages. When I started reading the story, I thought they were about the same age as Ash Ketchum. There's also somewhat of a problem that the characters look static during fight scenes, but I understand that they're stuck standing around while the Pokémon do the fighting.

Aside from its quality figures, the artwork's bland and amateurish. The webcomic has page after page of blank backgrounds, and when the creator occasionally draws a background, it's generic and minimalistic. I don't remember seeing a single decent background in any of the chapters, although this page is somewhat better than the rest. It seemed like this page was going to be an exception, but the building's lines in the bottom panel are thicker than the lines used for the character in the foreground, which makes the shot look unnatural and out of focus. I think the worst background, though, is this one, which is confusing to look at since the creator drew some of the background but filled in the rest of it with an abstract design. The creator also didn't bother to draw leaves in that page, which makes the tops of the trees look like strange, floating triangles. Although, the worst one might actually be this page. Not only did the creator use a photograph of the sky instead of drawing it, but the establishing shot of Azalea Town just has a generic Pokémon Gym, a generic Pokémon Center, what looks like a generic Pokémon Store, and a generic house, and there are no people around even though it appears to be the middle of the day. Until the webcomic starts having more detailed backgrounds, its characters are going to be living in a vague setting that doesn't seem believable.

Overall: I remember playing Pokémon on my Game Boy as a kid and thinking that the game's writing was awkwardly simplistic; however, it didn't matter much because the gameplay was such a blast. The creator of LAND//SKY made the unfortunate choice to imitate Pokémon's weak storytelling, and the resulting webcomic offers little to no entertainment value. A better approach would've been to use the game as the inspiration for a more robust story, which is what the highly successful Pokémon anime does. As it is, I don't expect the webcomic to appeal to anyone aside from die-hard Pokémon fans.



  1. The double slash suggests that it's inspired by hack//sign for what that's worth, a series/game about a gaming virtual reality that spawns a spontaneous computer intelligence.

    1. After I posted the review, the creator told me that the name is supposed to be like the Pokémon Red/Blue games, which I don't consider to be obvious. No real explanation was given for why it's in caps or with two slashes. It isn't a major flaw, but I think the creator could've come up with a better title.