By Dustin Cabeal
Writing a low scoring review that only brings up the negative aspects of a comic book is not fun. It’s not something any reviewer wants to do. It’s so much easier to write good reviews, but when a comic is bad, it’s bad. That’s all there is to it. I don’t have anything against Zakudoh personally, but it was a bad comic. I'm telling you all this beforehand because I’m going to make jokes, I’m going to try and at least have fun with my review, so it softens the blow or at the very least makes this review easier to read. I am here for the readers after all. But it’s important to remember that the name of the site doesn’t dictate our approach or skew our opinion of a comic, I would much rather have liked Zakudoh than to dislike it.
The story is a bit of a confusing mess. It starts in the future and then works its way back to the same point, but it doesn’t tell you that. It just does that and hopes you get it, which is actually really hard to understand because of the moment the story has picked to show you. There’s a lot of pointless panels showing the city and then a little boy flying through a window into the road. A person that almost hits him brings him to the hospital and save his life. After the kid’s grandma passes out the story flashes to the start.
It’s the same tired story of a boy wanting to help his financially troubled family. What’s unrealistic is that this boy loves Samurai movies and so he wants to learn Kung-Fu (still with me?) in the span of two weeks so he can enter a competition and win 20,000 dollars. What in the holy complexed storylines Batman? I’m pretty sure I don’t even have to point out the problems in that last sentence.
The boy, Zakudoh which is just the randomness name for some kid, heads to school the next day where he meets a bully and stands up to the bully. They both get thrown off the school bus and then skip school to go to a martial arts class where a demon or some shit takes over everyone in the class and makes them fight. Like hardcore to the death fight. The demon hangs out throughout the entire issue in case you were wondering where the fuck he came from; he’s just kinda there.
The story jumps ahead of itself way too much. The opening is poorly conceived and should have been two pages long before flashing to the start of the story. The start could have used some more polish as it was not interesting and just a giant exposition dump. Also, what the fuck is this kid thinking? That he’s just going to master martial arts in two weeks? That’s fucking insulting to anyone that does martial arts, hey this fucking kid can do it in two weeks, what’s your problem buddy! Clearly, he’s going to become some Kung-Fu master with the demon’s help, which is even worse since that’s like taking a Kung-Fu steroid. Put this in your butt, and you can say that line from the Matrix.
The scene with the bully and the bus was sloppy. It didn’t add anything to the story; the secondary character introduced make little scenes. Why haven’t they seen each other before? It’s the last day of summer school, how did they not see each other before this moment? Then the rest happens, and it’s just like, what the hell is going on? How did we randomly get to this point? Because the story doesn’t explain what's going on. It can give us an exposition dump about Zakudoh’s backstory, but it can’t provide us with a little bit of narration saying, “Then the demon made them fight, they were Kung-Fu fighting… you know the rest of the song.” Speaking of the dialogue, it’s all stiff and unbelievable. No one sounds natural. Instead, it’s like amateur actors trying to remember their lines.
The art is okay, but it’s at the mercy of the story. The panel choices are poor, the backgrounds are often generic or have the same shadow line running across them. Why Grandma has a Bruce Lee poster in the dining room is just beyond me, but then I was also distracted by the giant ass chairs they were sitting in that made them both look like children. There’s no flow to the artwork, and the story isn’t the reason, there’s just a lot of poor artistic choices made. You don’t’ need two panels for the kids to shake hands, just have them do it. Visually the art isn’t telling the story. You can’t look at it and figure out what’s going on. You’ll be confused from beginning to end. That and the shadows on the faces were out of control.
There’s nothing original about Zakudoh other than the name and how the story is being told. The problem is, it’s a familiar set up, and the way it’s being told is pretty disappointing. The cliffhanger at the end didn’t entice me to come back but rather solidified that I wouldn’t be back. I can’t recommend this title, it’s trying, you can see that, but trying and entertaining are two different things. No one picks up a comic, a movie, a show and sticks with it because they’re trying, sure masochist but do they even count as people?