Mentor/Trainee Roulette / Buck Xander vs. Itami

Mentor/Trainee Roulette / Buck Xander vs. Itami

Mentor/Trainee Roulette — Buck Xander vs. Itami

by dejitaruu and kubo

Icon for Buck Xander46.5%
418 points
Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7

Crit level: No preference

Icon for Itami53.5%
481 points
Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5

Crit level: Open to any comments or critiques
tags: buck xander, Itami Saitoh, mentor/trainee

Critiques & Comments
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# 13   Posted: Jul 24 2020, 05:03 AM
Deji - Man, your lines are so clean and smooth it’s wild. I know it was an error, but when the first page was accidentally uploaded too large, it gave me a really good look at those lines and I was very impressed. Like that hand in the second panel, those knuckles and tendons, hell yes. Both your humans and monsters are very aesthetically pleasing to look at, so I had that to enjoy while the story was lost on me.

And yeah.. the story was kinda lost on me ^^” I know you were pushed for time, but it seems like you didn’t even sketch backgrounds, because you had totally blank space for most of the panels. You should definitely be sketching the backgrounds along with the characters and not leaving space for them to be added right at the end.

I figured out the story from reading the comments, but even then it didn’t land for me. It seems strange that this dude would randomly transform into a demon in front of a whole crowd. Was it a ritual? Was he planning to eat the entire audience? I could’ve done with context. And as snager said, Itami didn’t have much role in the story at all. This was a Buck comic with Itami as a side character. I also don’t get the impression she was going to fight the monster at all on page 4 - her stance doesn’t read like that of a martial artist’s, she seems more to be posing for show. Which, given that she’s immediately knocked over and has nothing to do with the fight, I suppose ends up being fitting after all.

Rikun - To be honest, it kinda feels like you sacrificed character for a joke here, and not a particularly unique or new joke either. Itami saying “knock em dead” just before Buck literally shoots the dude dead was pretty funny, but otherwise I just didn’t feel it. Buck has always been shown as this elite sniper, somebody who’s job is to take out people without being seen, so for him to get caught by Itami and then just shoot somebody in full view felt off to me. You could have achieved a similar punchline without being as OOC with maybe Itami going “the kids alright” and then a cut to her at home, seeing the guy dead on the news before saying she needs a new gig. The premise also felt a bit... strange. You have Buck who afaik is white, being mistaken for a Korean pop star, and then Itami jokes that the band’s coach is ex-yakuza, I.e. originally involved in Japanese organised crime. Not that a Korean band can’t have a Japanese coach or a white member but.. it just felt weird to me.

Visually though, the expressions and panelling were good. I really like how you stylised Buck and used the gold of his jewellery for a little colour. The screentone was also used well. I normally find them overbearing but you found a good balance.

# 12   Posted: Jul 21 2020, 11:27 PM
Deji- Living for the construction and inks. The clothes also communicate some nice details, like the bottom of the shorts of straps on the shoes. It immediately grips as deliberate and tell us about the protagonist. The close-ups were handled so well, too. The features are usually well defined, but you could definitely push the urgency a bit more. My one big concern is the abundance of negative space, but that seems to be more a hazard of time, so I'm looking forward to see what you make next!

Rikun- I reeeally like how we experienced Itami through Xander. The humor really played with the suspense, comedic twist with the kpop, and every page feels like it has a star reaction shot. Your comic wasn't just funny, it uses comedy as a pivotal storytelling device. That suspense of Xander's uhh... "vocation", really turned your last page 4 joke into such a tasteful foreshadowing to turn the page on. I'm totally here for the use of screentones. However, without too much to discern the setting, it came off as texture for the elevator's metal, so I didn't quite catch where we were and when we were having a flashback/narration at some points. But the storytelling thread from start to finish is definitely there.

Community Manager
# 11   Posted: Jul 21 2020, 10:57 PM
Deji: your line work and anatomy is amazing. I know you have had other issues with outside life resulting in your comics being unfinished and I would really like you to revisit some of these comics doing a completed version as a BB, since this is a little hard to crit. One thing you can do is improve some of the more extreme emotions, the main one is the final panel on page 3 should be way more extreme to show her surprise. Your art is good and I would love to see some BBs of fully completed comics when you get the time, i do know you have a crazy life so take your time.

Rikun: this was really fucking funny, like the whole thing had my dying. Art wise you got more consistent with your eyes which was the biggest crit i had last time so good job sticking with a consistent style that works and shows emotion. I do think if you have time for limited color one of the other spots you should put it in is the eyes which can add a lot more interesting complexity to your simplified style. Great job this is an awesome comic from you.

# 10   Posted: Jul 20 2020, 10:20 PM
Dejitaruu - You showed us some very clean polished line work in this entry and a great twist. It was hard to follow that Buck was eavesdropping on Itami at the onset of this but it was still well portrayed. Nice work keep it up!

Rikun - This was exceptionally silly and a humorous delight. Itami better get that resume out there. Nice going please continue!

# 9   Posted: Jul 17 2020, 02:16 PM
hey guys! nice work!

Deji and Kubo: your character drawings are all pretty top-notch, though I had trouble telling the pink hair girl apart from the hit man guy, at first. I kind of thought he was her in a different outfit. then it looks like you spent so much time getting the figures to look right, you skimped on the distinguishing shots. it was kind of OOF when pink hair girl looks out into a crowd and just says to herself (us) that there's a crowd there and we gotta take her word for it. I would have been ok if you just did a photo manipulation of a crowd and pasted it in as a place-holder. then, i continued to be disoriented when a monster snuck up behind her . and I was still confused until the last page - again because I thought the guy with horns was the hitman character? idk like I missed the horns the first time or something orz. then, all the action shots are too close up and disorienting for me to tell what's going on, so why spend energy on them if they give no information? there's a monster but also a cross-hairs. I guess the guy with the horns WAS the monster? but how'd he get BEHIND pink hair girl? And i guess it was supposed to be a twist ending, where the hitman guy seemed like he was going for the same interview as the pink haired girl. but then he just kills the talent agent. which is a nice concept, but hard to pull off. I just think more though needs to go into what your audience is going to be seeing and what information is more important. Rikun didn't do any extreme angles, but that's cause he didn't NEED them. deji, you could have pushed the angles harder to make things read better, even without backgrounds. Like have the monster loom way over pink hair girl, or show hit man man far far away on a building. a nice variety of shots to mix things up and also split your time better.

Rikun and Flutterbyes: Yall's comic made me smile (laugh on the inside) a couple times! First when pink hair girl thinks the hitman is in a Kpop band and you frame it like she's IMAGINING the other band members behind him, but then he turns around and it's just a poster. XD and then the 'knock 'em dead' line got me. XDD instead of drama or action, y'all went for comedy and it had a nice energy. Pink hair girl plays a nice foil to hit man guy as the  straight-man in the act. and her little off-hand remark about the target acting like ex-yakuza ? that's a pretty cute way to tell us what the initiative is.

overall, I like deiji and Kubo's twist/slow reveal thing that the guy's a hitman, but maybe i'm just dumb but i didn't understand what the twist was until a couple of re-reads. also, pinkhair girl played 0 role in the story. just there to misdirect the audience into thinking this was an interview, but then she didn't have much to do with the action or reveal.

meanwhile, rikun and flutter: pink hair girl is driving the plot without taking over the focus. it's subtle, but clever. she makes the hitman look good, like a lovable crook. she sets the tone without derailing the mood. it's a cheeky little story with clear story beats. A+

and, perhaps you've both noticed me being cagey about this: but neither characters' names are properly introduced to us. Xander is only called by name on the final page of Deji's comic, which only helps you learn who he is if you re-read the comic again. :V is this a comic battle thing?

you ever read the old Overwatch comics where the characters call each other by their stage names CONSTANTLY because those characters are the BRAND? Void is similar. our flag ship ocs, our muses: that's our Brand. don't be afraid to market them by name i think.

anyway, thanks for all the juicy thoughts to share, guys! hope this helps!

# 8   Posted: Jul 16 2020, 04:57 AM
Deji : Your figure drawing is rad and the characters are expressive, and I love how you convey how the characters feel. In the context of a comic, the action should get more love in my humble opinion. Other have already pointed that out, but backgrounds are really important ; drawing one background pannel at every change of scenery would be enough to situate the action and would make your work much more clear. I can piece the action, and I understand what is going on more or less  but it's taking processing brain power.
Also something in me somewhat wishes he'd follow the advice of the cute hologram and go talk to Itami, cmon, interracting is important.
Oh and - on page 5 the gun changes angle suddently, which gives the impression there are two marksmen present on the scene. On the flipside, the white pannels give some unexpected (but welcome) breathing room and give the comic a pace that surprized me in a positive manner

Rikun : Probably one of your best comics I read on VOID. The humor and the story is self contained and easy to follow. Also I understand why you're point coloring Itami's hair, but other have pointed out that may not be the best idea and tones /grayscales would be more appropriate. I feel like you should trust your character more - she definitely would stand on herself and be recognizable without the point coloring, as you do a great job characterizing her. Just one thing though ; last page pannel 3, I don't really get what is going on. I understand more or less that is supposed to be a mass panic scene, but also the punchline of the joke, which you should polish as much as possible- you don't want the reader's brain busy decoding the pannel where the jack jumps out of the box, so to speak.

This critique/opinion/comment is made with the understanding it is appropriate. If it's not please tell me so, and I'll commit sudoku. In the end, both comics are great and had a good time reading them. More please

# 7   Posted: Jul 16 2020, 03:05 AM
Deji: You've got some strong figures and faces, but you managed to not draw a single background in this whole comic. I had no idea where any of this was supposed to take place or where anyone was in relation to each other, and it made it really hard to follow or care about what's going on.

Rikun: Nice acting and clear storytelling gives you the edge in this battle. Nice work.

# 6   Posted: Jul 15 2020, 07:10 PM
Great job you two! A one week deadline is always rough but you but turned in comics and learned from the experience!

Rikun - Wonderful comic! This is probably the best self-contained story I've seen you do in a while. The comedy is clean and bunchy. I only have a few things to say for critique: The first might just be a preference, but I'm not a super fan of spot coloring, I know its hard to portray holograms with just line work but I don't think coloring Itami's hair adds anything to the comic. What I recommend instead is adding a color to your greyscale. Either have all of Itami's panels be pink or and your opponent be another color, or find the right color for the atmosphere so you can set the mood of the scene. Monotone comics are always good as well. The second thing is, while I like that Itami unwittingly helps Buck find an advantage in his assassination job, I think pointing out that the guy has a blind spot is a bit too obvious. Buck is looking at the photo and he can clearing see that the man has an eye patch so a skilled assassin would probably have made that assumption. I think this could have been remedied by giving him a glass eye instead and having Itami reveal that the target is blind in one eye. This gives Itami the change to reveal information that both the reader and Buck does have. This is a great one week comic and I am super excited to see more of this kind of energy in your future battles :D

# 5   Posted: Jul 15 2020, 07:43 AM
Deji - Gorgeous art style as always! I know you were pressed for time because of work and school but for one week this is a very solid effort. I didn't have any trouble grasping the story here at all but yeah I agree that some extra panels would've helped and added bgs. I especially love how  there is an overarching plot regarding the Phoenix Coalition now and I can't  wait to see more of Buck's involvement in it. That teaser in the last page had me excited. It's such a cool coincidence that we both included their symbol in our side of our battles (though mine really didn't have a bearing on the story..or did it? :P)

Itami is so cute, a part of me wanted to see how she'd fare against  that giant monster but also  scared for her safety lol.

Rikun - Your story made me laugh because we had this old joke about Buck being a boyband before.  I definitely see improvement in your expressions and your art seems more animated. The splash of color on Buck and Itami is a really nice touch as well.  Wish we could've heard more about Buck's motives though but I suppose for a gag comic this definitely works!

Again, well done both of you. Congratulations on finishing the roulette.

# 4   Posted: Jul 15 2020, 02:58 AM
Deji- Wonderful art as always, there's so much eye candy here, the expressions were great and your grasp on anatomy is enviable. I like the dialogue as well, both the characters have a distinct voice. The story was decent & a nice way to tie these two together, which didn't feel too obvious. I do agree with past crits about clarity though. Its nothing a few extra panels couldn't help- honestly, I think just more defined backgrounds would've made this read more smoothly to me.

Rikun- I really like your cartoony art style and how you translated Buck into it. I liked the variation of angles, though The art & text bubbles felt a bit claustrophobic at times.
Writing wise the Kpop gag and pay off at the end were pretty amusing. This was a fun, tight story.

Both of these are super impressive one-weekers! Great job :D

# 3   Posted: Jul 14 2020, 11:14 AM
Yo! These were pretty rad!
Rikun: Loved the humor with the kpop band! You did an excellent job! Ilike the splashes of color you added to it

Deji: I love the way you draw characters. Like footini said it does get a little confusing part way through.

You guys did an awesome job!

# 2   Posted: Jul 14 2020, 10:23 AM
Deji: Your artstyle is strong as always.  You really have a good grasp of posing and anatomy that feels sleek and clean.  Also your Itami in here is a good one.  
Though the events do get a little unclear in the last few pages.  A little bit more context and coherency would have helped.

Rikun:  You do well with your expressions and writing here.  The humor is winning me over for this one.  
There are a few instances of your lines being sketchy and background colors bleeding over on page 2 that could use more cleanup.
But it's good to see you branching out with Itami and trying new things with her.

# 1   Posted: Jul 6 2020, 12:08 PM
This is gonna be good, as two of my Void friends are gonna battle ... I look forward to seeing the awesomeness you two will bring :-)

Comic Details -

Drawing Time: 1 week
Ended: Jul 21st, 2020
Votes Cast: 24
Page Views: 721
Winner: Rikun and Flutterbyes

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