Zap!
Original review author: YaoiHuntressEarth
Webcomic name: Zap!
Author: Chris Layfield (writer and creator) and Pascalle Lepas (Artist)
Start Date About 2005
End Date Ongoing
Genre Sci-Fi
Defining flaw Poorly done video-game derived storyline.
Things that are fucking terrible about this webcomic: Heavily cliched, tries too hard to be a Square-Enix game, rips off a lot of stuff from Final Fantasy 7, Uninspired character designs
Things that aren't terrible but could use improvement: The art is rather nice.
Summary: Nice art cannot save a comic that is so cliche and banal that anyone who is remotely familiar with RPGs (especially the Final Fantasy series) can see what goes on a mile away.

Ratings summary:

Background

I first found out about Zap! via John Solomon so I decided to check it out. The complete and utter banality and stuff that is stolen from Final Fantasy as well as the weak characterization gives it a certain place in my heart (in a bad way) as well as total confusion how the webcomic can be so popular that it deserves to be on this wiki.

Downfall

It started off ok, but when you find out Zap (the hero) is just another shonen anime\manga hero (dimwitted, happy-go-lucky type whose more what he seems) it starts to take a fall.

Author biography

I haven't found much but they both seem like decent people.

Story

Made from parts of various Japanese RPGs, Zap! as the space opera setting with an outsider crew like Rouge Galaxy, a rebel group against an evil corporation with government ties like Final Fantasy 7, a blonde spiky-haired hero with a mysterious past and powers also like Final Fantasy 7, a long haired-bishonen guy whose obsessed with the blonde's power like Final Fantasy 7, a romantic ballroom scene with a girl whose name is also Riona (though spelled differently) like Final Fantasy 8 and mix it all in with the death of an important man being blamed on the rebels just like (you guessed it) Final Fantasy 7.

Art review

Unlike a lot of webcomic artists Pascalle's definitely gets better as time goes on. The computerized colors are very nice and he's developed a bit of a style. His only problem is that as a designer, his stuff is very uninspired. Zap looks like an overgrown troll doll, Robot looks like a blue, one-eyed Larry 3000 (Time Squad), the evil catgirl has an ass-cape and the rest are just very ho-hum.

Writing review

Despite the good art, Chris hasn't really developed her writing. While she's not as shamelessly cliche as No Need for Bushido, it plays heavily upon the familiar and archetyped. You're got Zap, the amnesiac, dumb as a sack of rocks, happy-go-lucky accidental hero with powers he never knew. (Think a dumber, less interesting version of Fry from Futurama with powers.) Sephiroph, I mean, Gunner the evil bishie who has a connection to Zap and wants him to join his side. Reona the depressed, jaded love interest-to-be where every romantic potential will be squashed because like almost every Japanese RPG, romantic relationships should be as chaste as possible unless you're evil, then you can fuck as much as you want. Robot the "sassy", sarcastic robot who comes off more as an insensitive, whiny little bitch. Kasey the perky engineer who fangirls over Robot like a spastic, possessive teenaged twit. I can see where Chris was trying to make her fangasiming (to the point that she has no qualms about literally destroying other robots who get friendly with him) cute and funny, but she comes off more as an annoying psycho stalker. And Grontar the hairy, non-human brute who likes to bash things and cares for his teammates (except Robot). There's also an evil catgirl who loves to fight and acts sexy, but like everyone else she's very little beyond her basic explanation.

Though I will give the comic some credit. There are some rare moments when the characters step a bit outside their archetypes, Zap having an occasional mature side with wanting Reona to choose him out of her own freewill, and I was kind of hoping that Grontar's concern and raging when Reona lost her arm could've been a clue that he might've had some feelings for her and Chris could explore that idea and the messed-up love square that could've brought. (At least it would've added some depth to his character.) But these moments are rare.

Adding from a little of Star Wars, the good guys are all part of a rebellion. A pinch of pirates like Rouge Galaxy has. The ballroom scene from Final Fantasy 8 to make things romantic. A wise guru who is helping the only good aligned character for the evil president who predicts and accepts his upcoming death and the series own nod to Final Fantasy 7 with the upcoming assassination of the evil president whose death will be blamed on the rebels. Yep, it's all just so comfy and familiar. No unexpected moments to scare the fans or halfway original ideas to make them uncomfortable.

The other problem is that is it's predictable. You're so familiar with seeing it all before, it fails to surprise or have any real impact. Even when the comic tries for something that would've been dramatic or emotional, I just didn't care. With Kasey's previous childish behavior and stalking of Robot because she can't get it through her thick skull that he's not interested in her, it makes it hard for me to feel sympathy when she cries about how machines can't love her back. And if so, why does she keep stalking Robot? It's just a failed attempt to tug at your heartstrings. Same goes for the betrayal of Reona's boyfriend, the series is so by the book that it's no real shock when he joins the bad guys and tells her how he no longer loves her.

Conclusion

I can see where the stereotyped has it's rewards. Zap! is a very popular comic with plenty of fan art and is in the top 30 of the webcomic charts. To me unless Chris starts fixing things, it'll still be mediocre as hell.

Links

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License