One Punch Reviews #57: Legacy Control
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I took cartooning at the Detroit Center from Creative Studies. In one class, we went over shapes of characters heads. I’d tried to make a face out of something that looked like a lightbulb. My instructor took a look at the results, sorta made a face, and suggested I turned the shaped 180 degrees.
“A pear-shaped head looks more natural than a lightbulb-shaped head,” he said.
I think he made a good point. I can think of plenty of characters with pear-shaped heads: the principal from Archie, Pete from the Mickey cartoons, Baby Huey. There aren’t that many with lightbulb shaped craniums, unless you’re an evil villain with a big brain like The Leader. Still, with artistic license, I think it can be made to work.
I couldn’t help but think of this while reading Javis Ray’s Legacy Control. Because if this comic has convinced me anything, the one shape that will never work are lemon-shaped heads.
I don’t mean football shaped heads like that kid from Hey, Arnold, who actually looks kinda fine by me. I mean standing upright, with the pointed ends along the vertical. Aggro, the main character of Legacy Control, has got to be one of the most unappealing character designs I’ve ever seen. He’s rarely seen from any other angle rather than three-quarters view, probably because any other angle doesn’t work. His facial features seem to be falling off his face. I imagine that Aggro may be designed to look intentionally off-putting. If so, he’s a fairly repugnant character to have to spend time with strip after strip.
In fact, all of the character designs in Legacy Control, including the anthroporphic pink bunny shaped like an upside-down “L,” look poorly thought out. The expressions don’t match the emotions. While a surprising amount of the jokes have to do with seeing ladies naked, the guys propositioning the ladies look totally bored doing it. In one strip, Aggro’s thin-necked pal sprays mace in his face because … webcomics. The reaction of the guy he’s standing next to is priceless. You can tell that Mr. Ray was going for shock, but the only expression he seems to be conveying is, “I just ripped one.”
If anything is to be applauded it’s that this webcomic can be surprisingly frank. That’s a refreshing attribute in the video game webcomic genre, where most writers are more concerned about showing off what passes for being macho and pushing smug and ultimately irrelevant opinions on the audience. (Which, by the way, I’m not saying that this strip isn’t guilty of.) The best strips are the ones where Aggro talks about his crippling anxiety, and how he fears meeting other people. He talks about his struggles with trying to get his strip Reddit-famous. For a short while, Aggro/Javis becomes human and relatable.
Too. Much. Information.
The rest of the jokes are your standard video game webcomic fare. There’s jokes about Skyrim (expected). There’s jokes about Minecraft (slightly unexpected). And Mario (of course). Like most every other video game webcomic out there, it’s trying to follow in Penny Arcade‘s footsteps by wringing humor out of being as vulgar as possible… which, at this point, has pretty much lost all the shock value that made Penny Arcade unique in the first place.
Plenty of times, Legacy Control seems to be reaching for a joke that isn’t there, throwing in tired turn-of-phrases like “geek boner” or “penis coladas” to save the strip. It doesn’t. When you’re not put off by Aggro being gross and unpleasant, you’re rolling your eyes over unfunny jokes like how Samus is 50 now so she’s gross and unpleasant (despite being, you know, an ageless fictional character). Reading Legacy Control is pretty much a no-win scenario.
Rating: 2 stars (out of 5).