The Webcomic Watchman

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Review #35: God is a DJ

[Upon further reflection, trying to review S12ORD right now would be like clubbing a baby seal. The damn thing just parodies itself as it stands. So instead, I have moved to another comic, from my "waiting room" list.

Also, kudos to the person who can guess the musical reference in the title of this post.]

Title: Ratification Retribution of Lambs
Artist: Jason Lai
Genre: Supernatural/Sci-fi
Updates: Randomly

One time, I met God on the bus. He told me the meaning of life and then he gave me a pretzel...maybe I should've written it down. But it was a good pretzel.

--Tommy Chong as Leo from That 70's Show (paraphrased)

Man, I had this whole narrative in my head about how to ratify a lamb, and then the creator had to change the name to something that makes a little more sense, thus removing an area for me to mock. So instead I offer you this quote.

Apparently, ROL (as the "cool kids" call it) has had three previous editions before the current storyline. You can read them here if you really want to, but for the sake of this review, I'm only going to focus on the current edition that has been floating around the top 10 of the Buzzcomix list.

The story starts off with God taking the form of a pink-haired girl bitching at a blue-haired guy who apparently is supposed to be the "Adam." Sure, it may seem like a biblical allegory with a twist at first (how can God's son rape God? Consider this your new koan, my dear readers), but after about 10 pages the theme mixes with some Evangelion-like sci-fi story, mentioning something about neuro-synchronization and killer "angels" and the humans (the "lambs" in ROL) who are trying to rebel against them. I'm going to assume that the "why" of this story will appear within the next 10-15 pages, but maybe I'm just a lazy and impatient bastard.

The girl Yasu bears a striking resemblance to the one calling herself God at the start of the story. The boy she ends up saving (aside from a large hole in his gut) bears a strong resemblance to the Adam. Lai has let slip in his comments that the character of God is supposed to be a slightly younger version of Yasu for reasons he hasn't explained yet.

Onto the artwork: the characters, for the most part, look flat even to my untrained artistic eye. I don't mean flat in the sense of character development, but as if you're really looking at a two-dimensional painting. Not to mention the hair colors that don't exist in the real world without a massive dye job (unless there's a reason for that). However, the latest strips have shown improvement in bringing a better perspective (literally) to the art. I hope the artist will continue improving along this route with his artwork.

If there's one thing that nags at my conscience, though, is the reveal at the first ten pages. To me, it might've been better if those pages were slapped on the end of the story instead of the beginning. Not only does it ruin some of the suspense, but the whole rant about the Adam using God or an incarnation of God as a sex toy at the beginning just feels like shock value for the sake of shock value rather than adding anything of value to the story. However, this is my opinion.

However, as it stands right now, ROL is a decent read, if only because Lai avoids falling into the trap of using his soapbox to promote or bash religion despite writing a comic rife with psuedo-religious imagery. Of course, this comic may be frustrating for those looking for a Good Guy or Bad Guy to root for.


  • Thank you very much for reviewing my webcomic! I'm actually rather impressed at how in depth you browsed my site. I mean, the way you talked about Project ROL (title change, old archive, etc) seemed as though you've been following it for a while now.

    Nevertheless, I admit the first ten pages were used to draw the attention of the reader. I mean, my artwork is probably not enough to grab readers, so I had to start the story off with a bang, or else I couldn't keep newcomers around for more than 10 pages.

    Anyway, thank you again for the review.

    By Anonymous Jason, at 11:51 AM  

  • For the most part I agree, the story is good and the biblical references are great to read. Though the Adam-God deal would've been cool to see more towards the end than at the beginning. I just hope the deal with the angels get cleaned up soon!

    By Anonymous Skeith, at 4:53 PM  

  • I disagree regarding the story, the beginning puts you in the same perspective as "Adam": completely clueless. More than a spoiler or a completely unrelated dialogue to the main story, it gives you a larger area to assume what's going on, so it's more like a "take the pieces and join them" narration.

    I must admit that the art has yet to make some improvements, but I've noticed that Jason is changing rapidly, trying new things and techniques, this is good for his experience, but makes the comic overall feel too irregular, I hope Jason will fix this when he settles his definite art style for the comic.
    But still, I'm just a reader with no comic/graphic novel experience whatsoever, so don't take it too seriously. Looking forward to see the finished result.

    By Anonymous Sandra, at 11:06 AM  

  • ha...I suppose I like Sandra's comment more regarding the the beginning of Project ROL. Yeah, let's go with that explanation instead xD

    By Anonymous Jason, at 1:41 AM  

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