Leslie Ortego and Brad Brown
51 pages atow
Updates W & Sun
They say that you should write what you know. More often than not, this translates to “You should write what you are”, which has bred a huge group of stories with writers as their main characters, even if it doesn’t really makes sense. Looking at you, Stephen King. Webcomics tend to follow the same path, with the main characters being author insertions and the rest supporting the character. This can be a force for evil or good, mind you, I’d just like you to keep this in mind as I tell you about Blaster Nation.
I hesitate to state which character could be the “main” one; it’s probably better to think of them as a group. Each person in said group is colorful and imaginative, spanning the spectrum from the anime-geek-gone-soldier Matthew to the sexually-“open minded”/narcoleptic Rinnie. Like many of the “slice of life comics” crowd, the characters really make up the story. Yes, there is a plot at times (be it as it may) but it’s more about how the personalities interact with each other than the situations themselves.
I’d lay five bucks on the characters of Daniel and Kimberly being the comic counterparts of Brad and Leslie, but it’s not really done in a way that’s kind of creepy like Between Failures. The only big issue that arises from such a structure is that these characters tend to be shoehorned into a certain personality and then never move again. Daniel’s the big, boisterous one, Kimberly’s the slightly-naive, artsy one; Rinnie’s overtly sexualized, and Mathew is… Mathew.
In retrospect, Mathew doesn’t really have a personality other than being the camcorder of the story. Yeah, he has issues at home and a few side details, but he seems rather under-developed at times, at least when put up against the other characters in the story. This may be due to the fact that it’s a newer comic and the “plot” has revolved around the Majestic Three so far, but it’s kind of a something. Hell, even Ashleigh has more characterization at this point.
I just worry that the creators aren’t going to be able to keep things going without turning most of it into bland-but-palpable paste (Questionable Content) or just getting too entrenched in the roles and never really breaking free again. (Menage a 3) People tend to have certain images of themselves and others that aren’t as deep as one might think. The quiet one. The loud one. The geek (okay, this applies to all the characters in BN). People I know probably think of me as eloquent and stunningly sexy, but that’s a label, not a personality. Even entirely fabricated characters fall into this. But, we shall see.
The plot? Eh, it’s the plot. It’s a slice of life comic, what do you expect? It’s a bit heavy on suspension of disbelief-damaging coincidences, which is a bit odd. Despite the comic’s… “strong” art style, it still has pretensions of realism. And yet, the second arc is completed by friends just happening to drive by, and the third act put into motion by a person just happening to be someone you know off the internet. What are the chances of you stumbling onto someone you follow on the internet, assuming you’re not a crazy stalker-person? Very slight. It’s odd, but forgivable in a sense.
I’d like to give a special note to the art. I love it when people aren’t afraid to play around with styles, changing shapes and textures and… pencils… and other things that arty people use. While it’s more Hanna Is Not a Boy’s Name and less Dresden Codak, the shifting styles for one-off panels or single expressions is a delight. Rock on, you crazy diamond.
What more is there to say? This is why I have such a hard time doing newer comics, there’s just not enough material there to praise/trash. I can’t say how it went to shit or how Crossbow Nation, the series to which Blaster Nation is the sequel to, was so much better. That’s not a real thing. Don’t Google it.
It’s a fun comic, I like the art, and the characters are fun. Hopefully it’ll hold up.
Final score: 6.5/10