Pax Avalon by Steven “Reece” Friesen

Pax Avalon: Conflict Revolution by Steven "Reece" Frisen is a mess of a book.

There are so many problems with the artwork (from basic anatomy and perspective to the quality of the linework and color choices, let alone the overly formal and stiff posing of characters) that it's hard to deal with the rest of the book.  And that's too bad, because despite being a a very run-of-the-mill story about a team of highly-trained operatives, it does manage to integrate faith and religon into its main character Julianna "Pax" Embry in a way that almost completely works.  Which is perhaps doubly-surprising as the publisher of the book is Herald Press, a "division of Mennonite Publishing Network, Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada" and the last thing I expect from organized religion is subtlety in its portrayal of religon.  

The main character, Pax, is the superhero of the book — she has the power to absorb the injuries of others (it causes her momentarily to suffer the injury but then she heals as well) and essentially heal them.  She's religious, she attributes her gifts to God and she talks through her moral questions.  In that narrow slice of the book, I was somewhat impressed as it felt like actual characterization (mostly) and not simply preaching from the author.  It also sets up a somewhat interesting final set of scenes in the book as one of the crazy old dude bad guys is growing a clone and wants Pax to "heal" any imperfections that come up in the cloning process.

But otherwise, oh, the best I can say is… here's a comic that would do well to be published online with a healthy sense of humble modesty from the creator.  Friesen might not be able to improve his artwork, but he certainly can sort out his tangled plot and strengthen his chracter choices (too many, too bland).  Webcomics, if nothing else, can give anyone sensible enough to listen to others, the chance to see what works and more importantly, what doesn't work.  Does every page have a real "beat" to the story; is every page necessary or is it pointless filler; are you losing your audience with the latest plot turn?


Note: The publisher provided a free copy to ComixTalk for review purposes.

Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.