Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: Bullet

With this review taking place around St. Valentine's Day, it would probably be appropriate for me to review a romance webcomic (It would have been even more appropriate if the review were actually out on the weekend like it was supposed to be, I suppose). Anyway, I now bring you Bullet, a webcomic written and illustrated by Juli Shvets.

Bullet is a manga-esque webcomic hosted on Smackjeeves, and I mean that in every sense of the word (mostly). Most of the time, the webcomics you see that are drawn in the style of manga will use an artistic style remniscent of manga, which will be either left uncoloured or coloured into greyscale or full-colour. Shvets takes it a step further, using actual screentones (or at least duplicating the effect digitally) and creating strips that are read from right to left (my apologies to anybody who took the link in the first paragraph and tried to read the pages normally).

As far as the actual quality of the art, Bullet is decent. The characters are consistant and have enough uniqueness in their designs that they can be told apart easily, but there's just something a little off about them. Female characters seem a little thin, noses in profile seem rather large, perspectives of the characters and backgrounds don't always match up... basically, the artwork is solid and consistant, but a few things can occasionally be a little distracting. The backgrounds are put together well, panel layout makes sense (well, once you get used to it).

The comic itself is about a girl, Nikita Katayanara. Nikita is a bit of an outcast at school, lives alone with her alcoholic mother in constant poverty, has to work to support to the two of them, etc. The story can be a bit confusing at times (Bullet was actually created over two years ago, but Ms. Shvets recently made the decision to restart the comic from the beginning due to pacing issues with the original, which can be found here). The new version of the comic is much better, and has almost caught up in terms of the current point of the story (although there are some additional things revealed in flashbacks during the original which have yet to be completely reintroduced). The characterization is not spectacular, but neither is it bad.

I'm afraid that I haven't really done the comic justice in this review, if only because the comic is still in its early stages and has yet to get into the main plot (which was only just starting in the original, if I interpreted it correctly). The comic is rather serious in tone (I can't recall any usage of the more light-hearted visual styles that were present in in Shvet's other webcomic, Himawari).

The comic can be found here.

Art: C+. A few things that are off just enough to push the characters towards Uncanny Valley.
Writing: B. The improvement in pacing between the original and the current version is noticeable and appreciated.
Humour: N/A.
Characterization: C.
A few general ideas, but not much time yet has been devoted to showing what kind of people these characters are.
Story: B. Has solid foundations set, and is probably the most promising aspect of the comic

Arbitrary Overall Rating: C+.
I look forward to future updates of this comic. Recommended for anybody who likes a serious story with romantic elements.


  1. I think you went a little easy on Bullet... but mostly I agree with you.

    Juli does do a great job screen toning.

  2. I like this comic, I think it's promising.