People hardly associate fan comics with quality. Probably even less if you tell them it is a flash fan comic. It seems that Prequel hasn’t quite gotten the memo then, because despite being stuck in not one, but two comic ghettos, it manages to be gorgeous and enthralling.
Prequel is the epic tale of the recently reformed, newly named Katia Managan coming to a new country to get a fresh new start. But old habits die hard, and trying to not completely screw up your life turns out to be a little harder than expected, especially in a country as weird as this. Hopefully your audience subconscious can help you through this, if they can stop making stupid jokes in the comments section first.
I did mention that this comic is a fan comic, and it does take place in the Elder Scrolls universe. However, knowledge of the universe isn’t really necessary, so there’s no need to be intimidated by source material, especially since Prequel’s tone is a bit more lighthearted (mostly). I mean, at one point there’s a three way between a catwoman, a necromancer, and a skeleton. It’s clearly no Skyrim. That’s also basically the type of raunchy, absurdist humor you can expect from the majority of this comic. The weird, colorful characters running around are really entertaining, and sometimes oddly relatable, juxtaposing nicely with the really dramatic moments in the comic.
And yes, surprisingly enough, there’s a fair bit of drama going on here. Katia has more than her fair share of problems and emotional breakdowns, and struggles with a crippling low self-esteem. In between her body paint and pulling tricks with yoyos and pineapples, she’s basically struggling with self-destructive tendencies that cause her to desert every good thing she manages to come upon. This only gets worse and worse as she continues to fail, becoming harder on herself causes her to fail again, on and on in a vicious circle. And then it gets worse. And then it gets worse again. And while sometimes, the humor, adventure, and drama elements actually flow nicely into each other, it can get really jarring. Granted, the writing has gotten better in this respect recently, but I got whiplash from some of the earlier tonal transitions. The sharp transitions sometimes only make the comic seem emotionally manipulative and melodramatic. Again, it’s gotten better and both the humor and drama are good in and of themselves, but be prepared for a rocky road early on.
The comic is also semi-interactive, with commenters acting as Katia’s subconscious, often times telling her what to do next. As far as I can tell, the path is a bit more linear than the previously mentioned RubyQuest, but at most the commenters lead to some interesting plot points and at least make for very good jokes.
The art style is pretty stereotypical for a flash comic: pixilated lines, flat colors, minimalist backgrounds, simple animation, and loads of text underneath images, all very much inspired by that one infamous web comic I’m not going to talk about. It’s very polished though, and has its own simple, but distinctive feel. The variety of character designs and settings is really vast, and their expressions are nice and unique as well. The animations are nicely integrated, not too pointless or flashy. The artist is also somewhat experimental with the digital medium, creating some really fun animations and interactive panels, including, hands down, the best comic panel I’ve ever seen in my life. I won’t spoil it for you, but you’ll know it when you see it. So all in all, the art ranges from good to amazing, and certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Whether you like drama or comedy, Prequel has both down pretty well, though the bridges in between can resemble the Tacoma Narrows Bridge at times. It’s all wrapped up in a lovely aesthetic too, somewhere between realistic and cartoony, with the occasional breathtaking visual thrown in for fun.