Sekhmet Reviews – Voidchild by David Lindholm

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Oh! You are back again? Ready for more webcomic butchery reviews? You’re in for a treat, because two unusual things just happened: first off, I’m not drunk, and second, I read a good comic. A really good one, actually. It’s called Voidchild. So here’s a…

Sober review

sekhmet-reviews_water_resfor your entertainment. If you don’t know the drill, here it is – when I am sober, I am able to put my thoughts down in a logical way, so I can dismantle the comic lay out a balanced review with less cussing and without the occasional, loud burp. Boring, huh? Oh well, check it out anyway.

General impression

Starting out with awful, confusing panels and progressing to much more pleasant art, Voidchild is a work of love, passion and great storytelling to boot. If you’ve read my reviews before, you know I am bored to death with magic and the supernatural – yet, this story got me hooked.

Author’s description of the comic

Voidchild takes place in the fictional city of Victoria, England. A hotspot for supernatural activity where our protagonist, closely linked to a powerful and possibly disastrous entity, stumbles upon purpose.

The description encapsulates only a small part of the story. There is so much more to this comic, I wish David could mention it somehow, because I believe this blurb won’t capture readers’ attention enough – it’s too bland. I would at least bring up the main character’s internal struggles and find a catchier wording.

Story

At its very core, Voidchild focuses on the complex relationships between parents and children – which is a very painful subject for me to deal with. This comic is like a magnet covered in spikes, pulling me in and pushing me away at the same time. If you have mommy or daddy issues, expect that, too – yet, the comic is so beautiful, you should really power through your pain and keep on reading.

Supernatural and superpowers abound in Victoria, to the point that the city has a special team appointed to investigating the paranormal. Mary Walker will taste all of this when she crosses paths with Abe Bekker, an investigator from the aforementioned group. Several threads intersect with the basic plot – a kidnapped baby, a creepy cult, a mother spirit requiring children’s sacrifices (what?…), Mary’s back story and a lot more.

Characters

Mary Walker

Mary Walker’s eyes are… different. But who am I to judge?

A conflicted young woman, Mary was found, adopted and raised in Kenya by a kind man called Raheem. The strange circumstances about her appearance made the entire village suspicious about her and she was bullied to no end by other kids. Lost and desperate after a horrible tragedy, she goes to England, perhaps looking for her real parents, but finding a lot about herself, first. Throughout the comic, Mary is in a clear internal struggle with her own character and abilities – no wonder, given she can destroy anything at will. The trope of learning how to harness one’s own powers is a bit trite, but it has the metaphorical value of representing the difficulties individuals face growing up – a trope that, pardon the pundit, never grows old. David does a wonderful job at highlighting this conflict, making Mary become more and more confident in her own skills while figuring out how to use them to help others, rather than simply to defend herself. Although she endures a lot of suffering and has very good reasons for being angry and lonely, her roughness is clearly only at the surface. This aspect of her personality is masterfully shown through her interactions with other characters. In almost every single dialog, we learn a bit more about her, and we can’t help but feel for this sweet, sad girl, and want to cheer her up. Simply put – an awesome, complex character with a very good background conflict.

Abraham Bekker

Only if the pay is right, Abe!

This guy is fun. For one thing, he can’t seem to keep his shirt in his pants properly (I admit to having similar difficulties) and he’s a bit of a drunkard (yep, can relate to that, too), but his colleagues can attest for his superior intuition. Which, I must say, I really haven’t seen in action, yet. When you have a bunch of characters praise (or denigrate, for that matter) another character without actually showing him/her doing anything worth of praise (or denigration), something is off. Given that the focus has been mostly on Mary, though, I guess there’s still plenty of time for that – so, hopefully we’ll see it soon. Other than this, Abe is a good-hearted man who has rather entertaining spats with Mary and some of his colleagues – hoping to see even more of those conversations, too.

Nelson Movian

This cult leader is bad news

Creepy to the core, Nelson is a very convincing and scary villain. Manipulative and cold, nothing seems to shake his cruel intentions. Surrounded by a bunch of minions with not much brain for themselves (well, that’s what happens in cults, right?), he’s also a researcher of the spirit world and can’t wait to smash Mary to pieces. This is a very compelling character and I am looking forward to finding out his full motivations for being such an asshole.

 

Raheem

Raheem and his exploding soup

Mary’s adoptive father, Raheem is a sweet man with the worst cooking abilities and the biggest heart ever. Or am I wrong? This character will surprise you. At the time of this writing, I just stumbled upon a plot twist that left me speechless – chances are, you will be thrown off, too. His unconditional love and protectiveness for Mary are a marvel to look at and a bright (and never cheesy) example of how fathers should treat their daughters. I guess. Crap, I’m suddenly talking about my life, so I’ll stop there. Just check him out and see what you think about him.

Plot, dialog and pacing

The plot of Voidchild is well thought-out and executed. Mystery and twists and turns abound, tearing through the screen at a great pace, without ever confusing the reader. Each new installment resolves a bit of mystery while bringing up more questions with such a perfect balance, you will always feeling both satisfied for what you just found out and looking forward to more mysteries to be introduced and revealed. So far, David has done a great job at balancing this act, which is making me more and more confident that the end of Voidchild will be a blast.

One of the strengths of Vodichild is its dialog. Whether it’s a snappy conversation between Abe and his colleagues (or Mary) or a sad, deep and intense talk between Mary and Raheem about other children bullying her, each word is carefully chosen and none is wasted. Dialog beautifully carries a lot of the plot, pushing the story along very smoothly. Good job, David – I hope many authors study your craft, they would learn a lot.

Pacing is perfect – lots of things happen without ever seeming exceedingly compressed and longer scenes have an actual reason for their length. In other words – no ass-dragging to be seen! Marvelous!

Art

Ah! This is painful to talk about. The beginning of the comic is drawn extremely poorly, yet it’s clear that the author has a great sense of how to lay out his panels for good and dramatic effect. However, art improves vastly later on. David should really be praised on his great effort – he’s self-taught, has a lot of passion, works hard and actually makes very good progress in his comic endeavor. So, endure the art at the beginning, because giving up on this comic because of a wobbly onset would make you miss out on a really great story.

Conclusions

Voidchild has been on my radar for a while, and am I ever happy I got a chance at reviewing it – that allowed me to finally read it. With a very intense plot, tight and powerful dialog, and characters you will likely fall in love with, you are in for a treat.

Sekhmet’s seal of approval

Did you expect anything different? This comic has my seal of approval, I subscribed to it, and next week I will post my interview with David! You should subscribe, too!

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Check out Voidchild, and vote for it on Top Web Comics!

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