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The Pondering Pawaskar – An opinion on WERE HOUSE titled…….If wishes WERE HORSES….or…..I’m a WERE-ASS….

23 Jun
[The author wishes to make it ridiculously clear that the opinions mentioned below have sprung from his own messed up head & the owners/administrators/co-contributors (one of whom has been mentioned below) of this site do not necessarily support these opinions. He would understand if the said owners/administrators/co-contributors resort to concocting tales of his dementia or of his being a were-ass to counter the bad publicity the opinions below might garner.]

I titled this article as an opinion instead of a review because I believe that reviews are done by people who know a thing or two about comics. Opinions on the other hand are like assholes. Everyone has one and so I qualify! Two things to note before you read. There are SPOILERS and a spoilt comic geek stuck in a thankless job venting his fury ahead. You have been sufficiently warned.

I learnt to never judge a book by its cover! You should learn to never judge a book by its review. Read it yourself.
Indian Comics are touted to be in a resurgence mode. The news gladdens the very heart which winces a little when I go through most of the new fangled comics launched recently. Were House is one such book which while not as bad as some other books out there, didn’t turn out as good as I hoped it would. The hype had me salivating like Pavlov’s dog while the actual book made me realize how the same dog felt when Pavlov rang the bell but didn’t deliver the doggie snacks. Bad boy Pavlov.
To be honest, Were House does do a lot of things right. But it also does a lot of things wrong. Let’s take it story by story and then come to the art and other itty-bitty things called details.
Guardian Demon
Imagine Harry Potter’s entire story coming as a chapter in English medium balbharti textbook. How if Mr. Tolkien had crammed the entire Lord of the Rings saga on a paper napkin? Point is that every story needs a different amount of time to flourish. When one has just about 8 pages to tell a story in, the plot should be simple with a maximum of a couple of twists. In Guardian Demon, (MAJOR and I mean MAJOR SPOILERS) we’re introduced to a peaceful village that is destroyed except for a single survivor who is then saved by a were-leopard who he then nurses back to health and later trains under till he’s capable enough for being presented before a goddess who grants him power before he and his mentor venture forth to an ancient temple where they fight off an army of henchmen prior to taking on the main villain, a warlord, who gets pissed off at them and fights them to the death but not before he kills the boy’s mentor and leaves him all alone again!
I shall give you a much needed pause and some visual relief.

A visual representation of what happened to the Guardian Demon!
Click the image to view full size

The reason I scrunched the entire story in one sentence is to prove my point that a story with so much happening should not have been told in a single story. Don’t get me wrong. I think the plot had a lot of potential. Akshay could have pulled out a 10 issue maxi-series out of this single story. He would then have been able to bring the story alive and create characters we all could have loved and cared about. The way it was rushed didn’t allow me to relate with any of the characters. I didn’t feel sorry for the protagonist’s loss, get taken aback when the leopard was revealed to be a lycanthrope or be astounded when he met the goddess. All of them just happened and I was an uninterested viewer. The main villain (Mayur is it?) didn’t even instigate a yawn. Forget about dread. The plot as I said was promising but was too rushed and certainly out of place in a book that has horror as a theme.


Mousetrap

Simple story? Check. Minimum but effective twists? Check. Goosebumps? A few. Mousetrap is the best story of the lot. I liked it more because of the were-creature! A mouse trapping humans. Even the title is spot-on. Good job Soumya Das. Take a bow. I’m really not in a mood to say good things so let’s move on.

Mousetrap – Plain brilliant
It’s a dog’s death

Shweta, in the write-up following the story, mentions that the story is built up on a fear brought along from a dark, dark corner of her mind. Are they playing Terminator in the theatre in that corner of the mind? Robots taking over the world? Mankind in fear of extinction? Let’s keep the inspiration apart and consider a few logical aspects. I always believed that lycanthropes are shape shifting creatures that change forms as they wish or according to certain cycles in nature. The transformation into were-dhols was permanent. Doesn’t that make them mutants and not lycanthropes? The choice of dhols as the were-creature should have been avoided as they ended up looking as werewolves and not were-dhols. Logically why would humans combine themselves with dogs to survive extinction?

Wouldn’t combining with cockroaches (who have been around since before the dinosaurs) be more apt? Ohhhh…A were-cockroach. Put in a creature as creepy as Jeff Goldblum in ‘The Fly’ and you got a winner.

“Hasta la Windows 7, baby…”
One for the fictional fights T-600 vs Were-dhols or should it be Were-Woofs?
Again, like Guardian Demon, this story too failed to register as a horror story. But the story has a few redeeming points. Unlike Guardian Demon, the story didn’t try squeezing too many elements in the actual story. The back story was spelt out separately in the beginning. Plus the plot of the story that was illustrated was simple and the twist in the end was immensely satisfying.
Art AKA Vivek Goel

The problem with art here is that some frames are mind-numbingly awesome. They make the ones which are not, stick out like Wolverine in a Teletubbies episode. My personal favorite is that of the were-rat dragging the maid’s corpse with her insides spilling out! YIKES. The fight scenes among the were-dhols are also good. However, the two fight scenes in Guardian Demon were not up to the mark. There is inconsistency in the art too. Some panels are very detailed with good amount of attention paid to the background. Others are in limbo and seem hastily drawn. Plus I think the B&W execution didn’t really work out. The effect would have been great for a horror themed book which Were House promised to be but didn’t turn out to be.

Details

God is in the details. Going by that description, many of the new comic book houses  seem to be atheists as the details are horribly ignored. An excerpt from Guardian Demon reads, “I trusted her with my very” Very last piece of clean underwear? Another gem comes in the end, “My time is done. You were never always meant to take my place. And you never will.” Huh? Maybe I was never always meant to understand that sentence and I never will!
Ahhh! The joys of clean underwear!
There are typos and grammatical mistakes in a few places in the write-ups. Another grouse is that the flow is wrong at a lot of places. I had to make an effort to figure out what part I have to read first. In many cases the response gets read first and the stimulus comes later. It wrecks the entire reading experience. I know I sound like a grumbling old man and I shudder to think how I’ll be when I am actually a grumbling old man. However all these books are spear heading the comic resurgence in India and while others prefer a lenient attitude, I don’t. One has to get the basics right. I don’t want these guys to run before they walk. I just want them to walk properly!

To sum up…

Guardian Demon : Great plot potential squandered by rushed story telling.
Mousetrap : LOVED IT.
It’s a dog’s death : Inspired plot but good twist in the end.
Vivek Goel : Has to dig deeper in his inner awesomeness.

BTW

I DO NOT intend to demean any creator’s hardwork. I just want them to pull up their socks. I am doing my Pavlov’s dog routine all over again for RAVANAYAN. I have full faith that Vijayendra and Vivek will make me go HOLY COW when I see it. All the best. Don’t turn the were-dhols on me or I’ll be like a mouse trapped without a guardian demon!!!

Nish’s Notepad: Werehouse #1

24 May

After 5 days of fever, I finally managed to attend the Delhi launch of Werehouse Vol.1, organized by the Comic Addicts team itself! an hour late though. I missed the fun they had, but grabbed my copy, which is Holy Cow‘s debut title. So, here I go!
Werehouse has 3 were stories at the price of 1, so you get 3 reviews for the price of one too.. 😀

1. Gaurdian Demon

Script: Akshay Dhar
Art: Vivek Goel
Colors: Yogesh Ravindra Pugaonkar
Letters: Komal Surale


Guardian Demon is the first story in the first volume of Werehouse. The beast here is a guardian, a savior, an not an enemy. The family of the protagonist dies in an attack, leaving him behind. Alone, he wanders in the home of dangerous beasts and realizes it when an animal attacks him. Luckily, another beast defends him, but that is no ordinary beast, its a WERE-BEAST, half snow leopard and half warrior.

She teaches him the skills of a warrior, and then comes the time for the test.. This is my favorite part, thanks to Akshay for adding the mythological twist. The protagonist gets the power of Shakti-Ma and becomes a Were-Leopard himself. The rest is for you to figure out 😉
Now to my views, Gaurdian Demon is a complicated story, with a nice blend of drama and mythology in it. The art, do I even have to say that it’s awesome? Everyone knows Vivek Goel has no match. The only thing I wanted more in this one was a nice end. There was an abrupt end- which was overshadowed by the amazing story. Nevertheless, GD is a must read, an awesome story blended with awesome art.

2.Mousetrap

Script: Soumya Das
Art: Vivek Goel
Colors: Yogesh Ravindra Pugaonkar
Letters: Komal Surale

Mousetrap is rather scary and a little more violent. The beginning is a little kiddish, where a newly hired maid is EATEN UP!

Nevertheless, the art in this part of the book is the best. The protagonist here, goes to the doctor and complains she has hallucinations, about a Were-Rat! The doctor fears that the protagonist’s husband has something fishy in him, goes to inspect him. On reaching the home and his room, the shock comes. Here ends the kiddish story, and it becomes rather SPOOKY..
The end here is fantastic, but I didn’t like the beginning much. The story is an easy one, but at the same time, full of suspense. I’d not rate it above GD, nor below. Both are awesome, BUT both have flaws- the end, and the beginning respectively.

3. It’s a Dog’s Death

Script: Shweta Taneja
Art: Vivek Goel
Colors: Yogesh Ravindra Pugaonkar
Letters: Komal Surale

The third and the final story, written by Shweta Taneja, who is I think also working on the next-to-next upcoming title by Holy Cow, The Skull Rosary is again complicated. This story is future based, and the first page of the story tells the story of several hundred years in one go. Robots (namely Biobombers) control the Earth. To survive, humans inject themselves with the blood of Dhole’s. So, there’s not one or two were-dogs but a whole gang of them (or should I say, a pack of them).
There is an unusual timer starting from the first panel, the logic behind which, I didn’t get till the end of the story.

So, in the beginning of the story, the hungry protagonist runs into a human girl, but crushes his feelings of eating her because she reminds him of his old days (and think she’s cute 😛 AWWWWWW). So, to save her from the biobombers, he takes her to his caves, where other Were-Dhole’s live and battle with ’em to to save her. Unfortunately, he’s too weak to battle all of them and in the second last page, other get hold of him and are about to eat the girl WHEN.. your time to read now 😉
To begin with my views, both the beginning and the last page of this story were amazing, but what was between them not so good. It’s a Dog’s Death is as complicated as Guardian Demon, but it lost its track in the middle, which I didn’t like. Nevertheless, super beginning and end brought it equal to the former ones.

Overall, Werehouse has increased the hopes for Ravanayan, by turning out to be too good. Best of luck for it, and I hope that it turns out to be even a greater hit with its first double sized issue coming this July.

ART: 5/5
STORY: 4/5
QUALITY: 4/5
OVERALL: 4.3/5

Stay tuned as we’ll have another take at Werehouse by Rajat :D.
P.S. For the next week, I feel like itching. Itching what I can’t. 😉