Act One: Page Sixteen Act One: Page Sixteen published on February 26, 2019Read more posts by the author of Act One: Page Sixteen, Ashleen Woods4 Comments on Act One: Page Sixteen
Busy textures – 3rd and 5th panel backgrounds
1st panel – Kanna’s top doesn’t quite look right, thanks to the way its crossover collar seems to lie flat against her chest. It may be because the line of the collar doesn’t completely curve to the contours of Kanna’s body.
2nd panel – Dragon’s face seems oddly relieved for someone about to drop solemn news. I have Thoughts on their role in the story so far, so more below.
By the way, Dragon’s line sounds pretty awkward for a few reasons:
-Opening up with “in the future” makes the whole statement sound like a response to a question, or an explanatory statement elaborating on a previously established topic in the conversation.
-It reads as an info dump. Why do the girls need to be informed not just when (yes, when) Dragon came from, but how they made the trip and who owned the implements?
-There are no interruptions. Rin and Kanna are presumably just standing there patiently listening to a housecat-sized, winged dragon blathering on about magic, time travel, magic time travel, and demons with magic time scrolls. As far as I can tell, exactly none of those things is a common feature of the girls’ everyday experience, so it’s bizarre that they’re taking this all in stride. (Especially Kanna, whose religion is generally intolerant of things like magic.)
4th panel – There’s a “blah blah” in the whitespace above the panel. Not sure if it’s intentional, but it does drive home the density of the chatter being inflicted upon Rin and Kanna (and it’s funny), so you should keep it.
Minor nitpick, but you might want to change “you’ve” to “you have”, so it doesn’t sound as clipped in comparison. (I also read the line as “you’ve NO…” with an emphasis on “no”, so that may be why “you’ve” sounds odd to me in this sentence.)
5th panel – Sudden jump to…uh…what exactly is happening here?
You seem to have some issues with the usage of beat panels in these early pages, hence why the scenes often feel disjointed and the characters’ reactions make little sense at times. (See Kanna’s expressions on pages 9 and 10.)
COMMENTARY (SPOILER ALERT):
New readers should ignore this comment. Also, sorry in advance for my abrasiveness.
Having read Dark Horse twice on this site, I find that this page erodes away at any suspension of disbelief I might otherwise exercise for this story. Aside from the girls’ blithe acceptance of their surreal circumstances, I’m also bothered by Kanna’s future decisions as Queen Kannadessa. She is apparently under the impression that her excision from the timeline would prevent her eventual loss of emotional stability and demonic possession, which speaks volumes about her judgment and suitability for leadership. One can only wonder how she’d respond to, say, her ministers getting abducted as political hostages or her subjects blaming her for their post-disease complications.
Perhaps that’s the point you’re trying to make here, that Kanna is in over her head and still has a lot of growing to do. But as someone who sees the dire folly of her actions, I’m disappointed that her followers (like Dragon) are prioritizing their loyalty to her over any misgivings they may have about her erratic, irrational, and frankly dangerous behavior. It leaves me questioning why she should even be Queen of the World when her response to being possessed is to send her seneschal back in time to murder her younger self, who is innocent of her future crimes, in full defiance of any violations in temporal causality or political upheavals that might result from her eradication. And it makes me wonder why Dragon is not only willing to follow her orders, but apparently accepting of her plan as if it has no glaring flaws and even enthusiastic about executing her will.
Then again, I might just be grumbling about what’s happening because I’m not used to the pacing in Dark Horse. Or maybe it’s, I dunno, the fact that Kanna rules over the whole flipping planet in the future, and what has been shown of her behavior as a leader leaves too much to be desired.
Reply to Part 2 MAJOR SPOILERS!
Did I say Spoiler? Spoiler!
This is going to be a bit longer. But before I get into responses: Kanna does not rule over the whole world. She heals the whole world, but she’s only Queen over a small portion of the US. That’s my fault. I thought I’d put that in either Act 3 or Act 4, but I did not! So it’s good to know you’ve been under this assumption, because that absolutely NEEDS to be clarified. I could have sworn I’d put the USSO (United Sovereign States of Oregonia) somewhere in the text, but OMFG I did not. I will fix that. NO. No no no no no, she is not Queen of the whole world, nor will she ever be (and that’s not a spoiler. She can’t even handle a small portion of the US). Even Keisuma has not yet seen her conquest to fruition. She’s starting on the mainland, and building her armies. I haven’t decided how far she’s gotten by this point, but we’ll learn more later.
VERY MUCH SPOILER AREA BELOW. ANYONE NOT WANTING ANY INKLING OF SPOILER SHOULD NOT READ.
“She is apparently under the impression that her excision from the timeline would prevent her eventual loss of emotional stability and demonic possession, which speaks volumes about her judgment and suitability for leadership.”
No, she is not suitable. Not that she ever wanted to be queen of anything (not going into that right now). I don’t want to go into details (I will get into some, obviously), but by the time she gives the order to claim her life, she’s suffered not only the traumas of loss and war, but also being conscious as a creature forces her to sin against herself and others. As a person of faith, she would have had years to wonder if her use of magic lead to the punishment of possession. Hers is a mind of guilt. A world with Keisuma is clearly a world worse off than one without: regardless of her healing. Humankind would have survived without her-though suffered more loss (as outsiders from this story, we as an audience can know Shimiko is not right about everything: and humanity would have lived, though lost more people in the process). With her in the world, humankind may have surmounted the disease sooner, but has traded that for an evil being inflicting pain and suffering (through the farming of black magic), and the possibility of destroying all by unleashing the Dark Horse. This order was given out of desperation. To her, it is a selfless act, as people have a better chance without her. Which is worse? Kanna decides Keisuma.
There’s two more things she’s considered: one, dying while innocent may be the only way to save her soul: to become a martyr versus a ravager (be it her fault or not, she blames herself). So we might think she’s unfair, and it is definitely selfish to put that order onto Odysseus (though when we learn more, we’ll see she was also thinking of his suffering), but if your very soul is on the line, she’d rather take her chances. And if she’s wrong, she figures she’s still saving those who would suffer at the hands of Keisuma (including her friends and allies). She’s willing to go to Hell to save others. At that point, she figures she’s damned if she does, and damned if she doesn’t.
The other thing she’s considered is that the only way she knows to get Shimiko to intervene so her (Kanna’s) powers can awaken, is to send Odysseus to the past. Her faith and Shimiko all impressed that fates are sealed: Judas had free will, but also did not. Even knowing, even being told that someone would betray Jesus, he did what he did: this is a concept she will be struggling with. She wants to fight against her fate, even though Shimiko says what’s come to pass can’t be changed (Shimiko says Kanna’s the only way humans survive. Kanna trusts, but also questions if this is true. Her reasons for doubt contain spoilers). But she also reasons that if it can’t be changed, she must play her part and set into motion that which brings about her awakening. It’s a paradox, and she’s at a loss what to do. But sending Yulie back is twofold: if this is the only way to get Shimiko involved (because he’s the only one Kanna can reach, and he’s the one Kanna knows finds her), she must send him back. But she has been told not to reveal the past to him, so she will not tell him the details (besides, she has little time to speak with him at the times she can reach him-which I am not discussing here—and she’d be hard pressed to convince him to put more on the line than he already has). The other fold is if Shimiko’s wrong, then he may be able to complete her request to sacrifice her so more do not suffer at her hands. She doesn’t truly believe he’ll succeed in killing her. But if there’s a chance, then that would prevent everything. And if there isn’t, then that’s the event which sets into motion the only thing that might defeat Keisuma and the Dark Horse. She already knows what comes to pass, she just couldn’t conceptualize as her younger self just how awful Keisuma was. She sends Odysseus because he’s the only she can reach. I will not expand on that, as it’s important to the story.
“I’m disappointed that her followers (like Dragon) are prioritizing their loyalty to her over any misgivings they may have about her erratic, irrational, and frankly dangerous behavior.”
I’m assuming you just mean her sending Yulie back? Because Kanna goes from normal to influenced over night in Act 4 (we don’t see why she took Odysseus instead of Oisin to the ruins, nor why Rhina’s gone. He asks at the dig site, but she doesn’t give an answer). So I’m only addressing Yulie.
We’ll learn more about Odysseus’ actual story much later. He’s not lying, but he’s omitting a lot. I don’t want to give away major plot points, but suffice to say he’s nothing to lose. Is he loyal to a fault? Or does he have his own agenda? Either way, he never knew about Shimiko (so how could he know she’d try to kill him?) and while he was ready to follow Kanna’s order, we see immediately he’s not willing or able to kill a 15 year old.
And it makes me wonder why Dragon is not only willing to follow her orders, but apparently accepting of her plan as if it has no glaring flaws and even enthusiastic about executing her will.
That’s fine. We haven’t seen all he’s been through. But Shimiko has.
And yet, Odysseus tried and failed to Kanna (he clearly didn’t try very hard). In part because he’s under a curse and a terrible fighter, but in part because his heart’s not in it. We’ll see why and how future Kanna convinces him to go to the past. But when he left the “future” (which is actually the present. That will be important later), he is under the impression he’s forced to save the world from the Dark Horse and Keisuma. Right or wrong, that’s his purpose. But even with all his seething hatred for Keisuma, he can’t kill a teenager and tries other plans to prevent Keisuma’s awakening as a way to avoid having to murder anyone. He has time, since it is summer of 1999 when he finds them.
I agree I need to change his enthusiasm in these early acts. But most of your questions will be answered. Pacing we’ve discussed. There’s nothing more I can say on that topic that I haven’t already.
Apologies this is so long, but it warranted a response.
Edit: somehow the same thing got posted twice. Ugh. I just deleted repeats.
First reply to Part 1:
I’d also add I actually don’t like the panel layout: it’s confusing and an unnatural flow. It’s something that’s bugged me for a while, but I’m gonna just mention that XD
Noted on textures.
Yup, pacing is not good. I think when redoing, I’ll change up the panel, and have him talking over Kanna as she doth protest. Rin’s not going to pay attention to all this anyway, but Kanna would be. I’d say Rin probably would not be as shocked about a flying dragon as Kanna XD Because she’s eccentric and prone to “whimsy,” but Kanna should definitely not be as unresponsive. Will address this at the point of reworking the pages.
5th panel: this was supposed to be Rin starting to get up to no good. Will be addressed at point of fixing.