DISCLAIMER: I do not intend to attack anyone. I only seek to review. I am also probably not that reliable, considering that I enjoy Sonichu and Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff over stuff like Lackadaisy Cats and The Phoenix Requiem. Also, if you're reading this, original authors, just wanted to let you know that I never intended to cause all that butthurt. Also, I take back my statement about the comic being better than Eddsworld Legacy. All images used are from the artists of Eddsworld: TBATF, unless credited otherwise.
Ah, Eddsworld. The poster child of things that should've died on Newgrounds. It all started off as a mildly amusing cartoon and comic starring Edd and his friends. Together, they had many adventures that received millions of views. Every episode seemed to get even better. Characters became more fleshed out. More lore and worldbuilding was added, as well as continuity and just better comedy in general. While Eddsworld fell flat on its face when trying to make a pun or be random, it shined with reference humor and the occasional bits of dark humor. It seemed like the perfect transition from the Newgrounds Era to the Youtube Animations Era.
And that's when cancer screwed everything over. In 2012, IRL!Edd died of cancer, and his world died with him.
Or so people thought.
The Eddsworld: Legacy fundraiser managed to reboot the series. While it was nowhere near as good as the original run (more childish, characters were drastically altered, weaker writing), it was still better than most animated shows on television. With the latest episode released in 2016, the fandom had relied on comics in order to get their fix. The fandom grew in size, with both positive and negative results.
More fan content was being churned out like crazy, with AUs in all directions, ships, fanart, fan animations, reanimations, a fan movie, and even some fancomics.
And that's how we ended up with Eddsworld: The Beginning and the Friend.
We will be analyzing the comic based on several factors: characters, plot, humor, and art.
Characters: For the most part, the characters are very in character for the Legacy counterparts. Paul and Pat were okay, as characters, surprisingly. They receive a lot more lines, but it actually feels somewhat natural. However, Tord just feels extremely OOC. In the Pre-Legacy episodes, Tord was a silent, trigger happy hentai enthusiast. In the Legacy episodes, he was a dude who is literally the personification of cancer (NO, REALLY. I know Tomska kinda debunks this, but that felt like a cop-out to me.) But Tord in this comic just tosses that out of the window. It takes what made both Tords good characters and says "Screw that." Tord is now this generic evil former friend that happens to have an army of sorts.
Plot: The plot goes as follows: Edd wants cola, throws a fit at his friends, they go get the cola, unaware of LITERALLY EVERYTHING (heck, even Fun Dead can't reach these levels). They get cola, then they get kidnapped and tossed into prison. They attempt to escape, but are confronted by Paul, Pat, and Tord. Tord wants to torture them (read: kinky sex dungeon). That's it so far.
Now, this is nothing new. Several other comics (and animations/fanfics) deal with the events that happen after the end of Eddsworld. However, this comic stands apart, due to the fact that it's not a angst/ship/hurt+comfort fic. It's actually emulating the episodes, had they been plot based rather than humor based. So props to you.
Humor: Humor is tricky. Especially when you're working with a fanbase that consists of nostalgic horny fanboys, fanfic lesbians, fujoshis, tumblr users, and moral guardians. So not only do you have to make your comic funny, you also have to make sure the fanbase doesn't try to kill you as well. Basically, it's like being a stand-up comedian, but you've got an overprotective soccer mom pointing an Uzi at your head. However, the comic seems to nail the Pre-Legacy humor well, at first. However, as of late, it turns into LOLRandom humor. Now, LOLRandom humor is not bad. But it kinda falls flat in this comic.
Another thing that bugs me in this comic is the overly long running gags. A funny joke that lasts too long becomes unfunny. In this case, it's Matt vomiting, as well as Tom getting tortured. And it's not even funny, like Max Giraldi's Mario Vs Sonic. It just feels like being forced to eat 12 pounds of vanilla ice cream in one sitting: okay at first, but then it gets to be too much.
Art: Jesus CHRIST. The first cover is actually really good. But then we get to the actual meat:
So far, it's okay. It looks like the unholy fusion of Paul's and Edd's style.
The comic format, a reference to the actual Eddsworld comic, is actually a pretty cool touch.
However, sometimes it falls into the uncanny valley, such as right here:
Also, sometimes the font switches around and it feels a bit...off. I mean, this panel as a whole is a bit of a mess. The wonky perspective, the extremely off model characters... THIS IS WHY YOU ALWAYS, ALWAYS REDRAW YOUR COMICS AT LEAST ONCE. IT'S A LESSON I LEARNED THE HARD WAY.
However, the comic does improve with time.
Take a look at this comic, for example. Honestly, it is one of the better pages. Good colors, good anatomy, and great expressions.
However, the comic sometimes has some troubles with focus. It doesn't seem to know what to focus on.
This page is a cluster. The eyebleeding colors don't help, either. The brighter lighting works better if everything else is darker. If it was to retain the bright color scheme, the red lighting should be darker/softer in order to compensate. Bright on bright is a horrible idea.
The focus is also a bit meh. The focus should be on the fighters, not the background. Also, the poses are also pretty stiff, but that's a story for another time.
However, the final square here is actually pretty good. It puts Tord at the center of focus. Nothing is blocking the way. It's very clear what we're supposed to focus on here.
And here's another minor gripe:
Smiles don't show in shadows. Also, fifth square seems a wee bit cramped. In the second square, Paul and Pat seem to be derping out a bit. Also, a minor coloring error: 2nd square shows Matt vomiting on Pat's gray pants, but square 4 shows Matt vomiting on something blue.
All in all, the art starts off okay, but ends up improving. It's actually a cool evolution. The style itself is nothing original, but it shows improvement.
But the cover pages are where I have the most to gripe about.
Take a look at this page, for example. The subjects are very clear. There is stuff in the background, but it doesn't detract from the main focus. Even though Pat's pose is a bit off, the cover is simple and effective at setting the tone.
On the flip side...
You have this thing. It's a cluttered mess. It has less focus than a Where's Waldo? page. If it wasn't for the lamp, the subject would have been near impossible to find. One might argue that the intended effect was to show how hectic and chaotic Tord's life became. Personally, this could have been executed in a much simpler fashion.
But hey, the next chapter cover seems to have improved. Yay!
Also, the pacing is a bit iffy. But it's definitely okayish.
Conclusion: This comic oscillates between hit and miss. Some comics are genuinely entertaining, while others are not so much. The art style is bland, but serviceable when needed. This comic had some pretty high expectations, but in the end, it kinda plateaus. However, the comic is just starting on the third chapter, so hopefully it can pick itself up and be actually great.
Edit: Chapter 3, and the writing team definitely took a hint. The plot goes somewhere. The writing is also...kinda funny? And it stops making dumb jokes for more than two panels? This can mean only one thing: the real team was killed and replaced with robot monkeys!
It also appears that the lovely team behind this project finally got their shit together and blocked me. If anyone can find out the reason why, please tell me. OH WAIT I REMEMBER WHY. I told them that this was better than Eddsworld Legacy. Then I made a minor joke about plot armor. When it appeared that they got a wee bit butthurt, I apologized.
Good job, girls!