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Jun 12 17 6:06 AM

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Ok, so...

I know I mentioned these a while ago - and I feel its been long enough since my fuckup of a first attempt at a review, that I would have another go

and try for something small, when you can try for two comics at once!!!

For your consideration:

Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger
The Probability Bomb

both by webcartoonist RHJ

Now, why do both? Because the probability bomb is essentially just another story arc for the space ranger comic. Same main character, just with a cross-over from one of RHJ's other comics (a far better one, to boot)
- so its done in the same art style/quality
- mostly the same characters
- exact same quality writing (and lack there of)

Now, my case for both being bad webcomics:

1) the art is, on quite a few occations, MS-paint tier bad
- observe the really poor photoshop effects. The hand-drawn bits are servicable, but the other parts? Dear gods
- also note the blatant ripoff of Warhammer 40K content here. A shitload of stuff from other IPs have been 'borrowed' for use in the comic.

Compare to this, the very first page of the main comic:
- this actually looks good! this has effort in it! Which makes the cheap photoshop effects look all the more shit
- observe RHJ's mighty use of copy and paste. It works both on space-ships and space bases!

There are plenty of other examples of bad art in the comic, but I can add that in later

2) the writing of the comics is bad.
- first off all, like most of RHJ's comics, then both have very heavy political messages. Entire pages have been devoted to hammering home political opinions.

To demonstrate this, I present the following mini-arc from the main space-ranger comic: - start here, then poke at the next 16 or so pages

First up we have some quite solid sci-fi, about replicators and AI-core smugling. This is really well written.

...then someone tries to blow up the 'hero' of the comic, but he has plot armor. It is then revealed that this was because of a salty alien who claimed that the hero had destroyed his homeworld!

The alien claims that the hero had dumped a shitload of super-tech blueprints to public servers all over the planet, including replicator tech, which almost instantly destroyed the planetary economy and brought ruin to the civilization!

The hero then rebuts, claiming that he only did so because the obviously evil rulers (because he said they were evil) had been hoarding wealth via the evil FIAT CURRENCY of the planet. They hadn't done the sensible thing of tying their currency to gold (which would still have been stupid because he was offering them replicator tech) - but that doesn't seem to matter. No, what had mattered was bringing down the evil government that controled the value of the currency, who had spent decades militarizing the police, and cracking down on anyone who didn't use state money! So, free replicators for everyone, let freedom reign?

Oh yes, except some fringe not-alien-muslims ( ) took some of those free replicators and churned out nukes and even dropped a giant space habitat on the planet, destroying everything on the planet.

because giving replicators to everyone was a great fucking idea, right?

and its all wrapped up with the hero still feeling morally superior because if he hadn't given them free replicator tech, then their economy would have collapsed and they would all have died - because that's totally what happens when a fiat currency collapses, right? - the line in the comic is:

"Every scenario i ran, or the eggheads back in HQ ran,  or anyone ran, came back with the same same numbers. What I did was morally, ethically,  and statistically the best possible option"

So much for prime directive. The sad thing is that this arc could have been really great, if you had just left out the political grand-standing and just gone "I found a planet where its people were oppresed, armed them so they could rebel, but then shit happened" - never mind trying to negotiate with the planet's government, or offering more limited/controled aid... no, its nukes for everyone!

I would argue that for writing, having a main character basically single-handedly destroy an entire civilization over what amounted to "I didn't like their monetary policy" and then still express moral rightousness about it afterwards, is quite indicative of the main character being a Gary Stu. Because he simply cannot do anything wrong.

Speaking of which, the space ranger comic has a whole arc where the hero is 'rescued' (reluctantly) by not-enterprise, with the whole arc being about RHJ taking a huge shit on Star Trek. Not in itself a bad thing, but its just really fucking dull and repetive. I mean, I get it: He loves poking holes at the shitty computer security, the dubious transport technology, the "we're not really getting paid for this" bit and so on. and then next 30 or so comics
- arguably RHJ's greatest crime for this arc is that he makes the not-wesley out to be the smart and sensible one.
- and second to that, he makes the not-Picard (named Pidorq) act like a childish idiot
- and the not-Q is shown to have been shepherding the alien species that the not-star trek aliens are from around, fixing their DNA when they destroy it via their teleporters and whatnot.

It just reads as a really lazy bit of star trek hate-fiction, because screw coming up with something original, right?

Or the time the hero hires an alien cab-driver, who's species is entirely made up of offensive racist stereotypes?
 - it just bogles the mind why you would even add this to  your comic? Aside from an excuse to cram in everything from stereotypical jive-talking not-black people, to not-asians with giant front teeth.

Then there's the arc about copyright - using a sci-fi strawman about evil copyright lawyers brain-draining artists in order to hold on to the intellectual property. and about ten or so pages onwards
- apparently the evil RIAA copyrighted the DNA for an alien species' females...

or the arc about an evil useless space corporations/governments that doesn't train its shuttle pilots well enough, and then threatens said pilots with charges of piracy if they don't deliver their shipments on time and twenty some pages onwards
- again, a potentially interesting story about a stow-away hitch-hiker, in a shuttle that supposedly doesn't have life-support for more than just one pilot
- but instead its used to hamfisted rail against things like environmental regulations and government red tape
- and of course the government straw-man even boasts that he is proud about getting really stupid red-tape laws enacted:

basically, shitloads of straw-men and arcs that drag on with RHJ moaning and pissing about evil governments, evil fiat currency, evil red tape. Hell, the end of it has the court deciding to disolve the offending government bodies and privatise the whole deal:
 - I get that a comic with a political message can't be judged on equal fotting with a comic that is just trying for suspense and entertainment, but this is bordering on Probability Broach levels of wishful thinking and mary sue utopia
 - the particular government in question is even called "The parodian government". RHJ has tons of such lazy "sounds like" words in the comic, for various alien races and things he wants to riff on.

and that's just the bad writing in the space ranger comic
=11.0ptFor bad writing in the probability bomb comic, then some of you may remember some of these gems that I presented previously in another thread:
 - Militant nihilists as the bad guys, who want to destroy the universive because... nihilists =11.0pt
=11.0pt- basically, they're bad guy willing to destroy the universe in an attempt to prove that evolution is true.

Lets try that again: in this sci-fi comic, that contains magic (even more so with the fantasy character visiting via crossover), untold amounts of aliens, and then some - its the people who believe in evolution who are the bad guys. That is the most pants on head retarded concept I have ever seen in sci-fi writing.

but it segways wonderfully to the comic's next bit of stupid:

- and then there are the two whole pages, out of the 53 so far posted to the probability bomb comic, spent on explaining why young-earth creationism is the correct way about thing,
I wish I was kidding: and the next page.
- oh sure, lets take two page outs of the already criminally slow update rate and spend that one explaining to the audience why something completely fucking unrelated to the comic is totally true and you need to know this!
To put this into context: The first page about young earth creationism was posted may 8. 2016. The second on May 29. 2016. The next comic again was psoted on June 11. Basically a whole month wasted - since you can quite effectively pluck the two pages out of the comic and you wouldn't even be able to tell. Never mind that he has gone months in between updates at other times.

But hey, that's what happens when the cartoonist goes "screw the plot, I have something far more important to tell my readers!"

And the sad thing is that the few bits of story arc where he isn't taking a shit on some political or corporate concept that he doesn't like, then the comic is really good. Like the arc about the aliens who's females' genetic code had effectively been stolen, forcing them to reproduce via cloning. It was a really interesting concept. Or the one about the hitchhiking stow-away who ended up in a ship unable to provide that extra life-support. These are interesting sci-fi story hooks that could have been used for so much more, but instead they're wasted on shitty soap-boxing about whatever the hell RHJ had a hate-boner for at the time.

Again, I'm well aware that trying to judge a comic with an obvious political (and in this case also somewhat religious) message for its realism is a futile effort - but my issue is with the format and the choice of theme. You do NOT mix young earth creationism with science-fiction. It may be fiction, but there's that word "science" in there too. It just does not make any damn sense and is IMO the utmost of lazy and bad writing. Hell, what makes it worse is that RHJ actually tries to justify it in the comic using excuses like saying that time isn't a universal constant, or that black holes and crap distort space-time, so stars that look to have been billions of light-years away really weren't, because the universe totally isn't that old.

It is the fact that he tries to veil his religious views in really poorly researched pseudo-science bullshit that IMO hurts the comic the most. 

Its just like the star trek arc in the space ranger comic: Riffing on the sillier tropes of star trek can be fun, but RHJ turns it into one-sided strawmen that he just lines up for his always wise gary stu main character. Hire a small fleet of mercenaries at the drop of a hat? Sure, because in gary stu anarchist-utopia, the government has tons of money lying around:

That's my thoughts - and my argument - more or less, for why the two comics should be reviewd together. One is simply a side-story to the main comic. same art quality (shit), same quality writing (shit) and same Gary Stu main character.
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#2 [url]

Jun 12 17 11:23 AM

Camp calomine isn't linked to this one - its an entirely different setting, characters, everything. Its just made by the same cartoonist.

The only reason I want to do these two together, is because one is basically just a side-story to the other.

Last Edited By: webkilla Jun 12 17 1:20 PM. Edited 1 time.

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Long Tom

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#3 [url]

Jun 12 17 1:54 PM

webkilla wrote:
Camp calomine isn't linked to this one - its an entirely different setting, characters, everything. Its just made by the same cartoonist.

The only reason I want to do these two together, is because one is basically just a side-story to the other.

I suppose when the scenarios are interlinked, you should probably write a review witrh one title and mention the other webcomic as a subcategory.  That would make things less confusing.

​Another tip is when you write a webcomic review, what you say about its author should only relate to the aspects of the author that actually has to do with the webcomic itself.  I did have to revamp your review of Camp Calomine because you said things about RHJunior that had nothing to do with the webcomic itself-and some of the things were inaccurate.  For instance, you said that an article RHJunior wrote was a criticism of any religion that was not Christianity, when in fact the article specifically criticized Wiccanism and how it was not a religion in the true sense.  Try to be more careful in the future.

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#7 [url]

Jun 14 17 11:43 PM

fair enough - just wanted to be certain, considering the recent stint of un-approved reviews and shit popping up on the wiki.

and I will take great care to learn from my previous mistakes in reviewing, keeping focus on the comic and not the maker of it.

Will post updates when there's something I want feedback on

Here are my research notes so far:
- i'm basically going through every arc in the two comics, taking notes.
- this is what I'll be condensing down for the final review, once done going through the comic

Last Edited By: webkilla Jun 15 17 2:00 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#8 [url]

Ok, fuck me with a chili-oil wrench: I have amazed 18 pages of notes after going through the archives of the two comics and writing down my thoughts on the various story arcs:

Oh it is going to be fun (not) to boil these things down into acceptable review length

That said, I can already summarize the story arcs

Space ranger:
- Introduction, space pirates and giant alien bugs
- The star trek arc. RHJ does not like Star Trek
- Cloning (of mind and body) and copyright. RHJ does not like copyright
- Space Hitchhikers and government bureaucrats in a courtroom drama. RHJ does not like government bureaucrats
- Replicator drama. RHJ does not like fiat currency and wants everyone to have guns and nukes, irregardless of the consequences
- The Warhammer 40K arc. RHJ doesn't like warhammer 40K (unfinished)

Probability bomb
- a single arc, this is just one whole story (unfinished) in which RHJ does not like atheists, people who think evolution is real, nihilists and intellectuals, all at once

Sweet jesus it was rough getting through this - especially the probability bomb. The political soap-boxing in the comics got thicker and thicker as time went on - the tipping point being late 2014.

I'm tempted to ask for sub-pages to review each arc in depth. There is so much to pick apart in these comics, from racist aliens that are only there to give an excuse to RHJ to put racist caricatures into his comics for an arc, to the repeated shark-jumping in the probability bomb, as we're expected to believe that young earth creationism in a sci-fi setting makes any sense what so ever.

Oh this will require the good brain bleach, not the cheap off-brand stuff

And I have taken great care not to remark on the actual political views presented in the comic - instead focusing on how they are presented, because usually that is done via brutal walls of text on whole pages dedicated to exposition and soap-boxing, grinding the comics to a halt for up to months on end due to the atrociously slow and very random update schedule that RHJ has. Hell, before the last update on the space ranger comic it was almost two years since the previous update, despite that comic being one of his headline comics.

Ya we're going to need more sippin' bleach here

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#9 [url]

Ok, I think I have an outline done on my wiki user page:

feedback would be nice

There is still some work to be done - but I have taken care not to riff on any specific issues I have with the politics promoted in the comic, instead focusing mainly on pointing out how poorly its portrayed, since it usually messes up the flow of the comics completely.

I also need to add images. and do the art section.

and I think I need to cut down the writing section - but then again, this is just a first pass. There is plenty of room for improvement, and the comics aren't going anywhere (not with them only updating once a year or so)

also need to add more links in the story and plot sections to relevant comic pages. Links to the start of each might be a good idea

Last Edited By: webkilla . Edited 1 time.

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Long Tom

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#11 [url]

A couple of suggestions:

​If feasible, I try to add a "whole" strip into each review, namely to illustrate that when you look at the webcomic, it looks like that.

​I also drop in the names of other reviewed webcomics if I see fit.  For instance, if we're supposed to root for an unlikable protagonist who does bad things, I refer to Sandra and Woo, which uses that trope to a fault.

​Since this is not a furry webcomic (from what I can see), you probably don't need to mentioned the Burned Furs.

Also this might help:

Last Edited By: Long Tom . Edited 1 time.

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#12 [url]

fair enough

I namedropped Burned Furs because it seems to be in RHJ's MO to aggresively mock things he doesn't like. The burned fur's MO fits with how he does "parodies" in the main comic, like the star trek or 40K arcs.

I'll add the Sandra and Woo reference - good idea.

As for adding a whole strip - these are full page comics. They're not strips. And I do actually have one in the review already: the picture shown at right of the Art Review section. If you click it, you'll see that its full page... well its actually more than that - the original resolution is insane, but its there.

I edited things for clarification. How does it look now? Any grammar issues?

Last Edited By: webkilla . Edited 1 time.

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#16 [url]

Long Tom wrote:

webkilla wrote:
I dunno - is jar jar supposed to be a specific racist stereotype, and not just an annoying as fuck little shit? I never thought of him as a racist stereotype

eh - both Lucas and the actor who played him deny it. And unlike Jar Jar, the the =11pt“W’naybe” aliens appear to be deliberate attempts to cram racist caricatures into the comic.

I don't find Jar Jar to look like a rastafarian or caribian style character. I guess that's a little too subjective - but like I said - with RHJ's “W’naybe” aliens, then there is no doubt of what the purpose was.

Hell, it doesn't even make sense why these shapeshifting aliens should choose to mimic 700 year old terran stereotypes - why would they not instead mimic 'current' year 2700 terran stereotypes? Mimic the racoon race? It is just so incredibly contrived.

Compare to Jar Jar, who was really shitty comedic relief - its just not the same IMHO

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