It figures. I decide to post on the fourth a month in advance and I’m still more than a day late. Ah well, c’est l’enfer. Now, let’s turn our attention to Mystery Babylon.
Mystery Babylon is an anime-esque web-comic created by Val Hochberg, which follows the action-packed adventures of Kick Girl, its violent antisocial heroine, as she tries to survive in an almost post-apocalyptic future. As the “last demon on Earth”, it’s Kick Girl’s destiny to open the mythical Pit, release the demons of Hell upon humanity, and bring about the final Apocalypse. The only problem is… she promised she wouldn’t.
Personally, I think that opening the Pit, beginning Armageddon and unleashing Hell on Earth sounds like quite the party. I don’t know why she hasn’t done it before. Although I suppose that would make for very short web comic.
As she tries to prevent the Pit’s opening, she runs into Zero, a young and innocent (read hopelessly naïve) acolyte of a religion that regards Kick as the antichrist, and Judas, an agent of a cult obsessed with helping Kick end the world as they know it…
They won’t feel fine.
As I said, the art style for Mystery Babylon is anime/manga based, though it’s still read from left to right like western comics so there should be no confusion for those uninitiated in reading oriental style. The art is dynamic and fairly solid throughout, with few if any noticeable variations in model that can’t be explained by the appropriate use of comically used chibi-style (by which I mean that it’s used in a comedic manner and not just in a… y’know what, never mind). The art maintains a steady look. So far it hasn’t really improved all that much but that’s really because it hasn’t really needed to do so, a refreshing turn from Slightly Damned and Gunnerkrigg Court.
The writing for the comic is good so far; though sometimes characters have a bit of tendency to go long-winded, but since that rarely happens, it’s not that much of a distraction. The action and developmental pieces are well varied. It’s still a bit early to say much about the story, but the inspiration it draws from the Judeo-Christian Book of Revelations is evident, what with the title, the Pit, the Apocalypse, and Kick Girl being the literal Mystery Babylon the Great, not just a metaphor or allegory… also this is the first page.
As characters go, Kick Girl is definitely an interesting one. She’s lived a long time, so she’s seen a lot of the world, yet she actively avoids human interaction, partly because of her inhumanity and the expectations that others have of her. She’s strong, always taking the first, most violent course of action she can come up with, yet there’s a softer side hidden beneath, stemming from her past experiences and relationships. Although the Pit was once open, it was somehow sealed up again, trapping the demons inside, along with someone close to Kick. Despite that, she’s made a promise to a dying friend to never open it again. This struggle between her promise and her fate is a large part of what defines Kick Girl.
Zero is a young priest in the Church of Vesta who, through angelic visions, has been granted the knowledge of the Pit’s location. This makes him an interest to both Kick, who wishes to keep the location a secret, and the Cult of Babylon, whose goal is to help Kick fulfill her destiny (even against her will if need be). Despite living in a world shaped by demons and crusaders, Zero has a pure, childlike innocence which contrasts with and compliments Kick’s violent and cynical one. The majority of the cute and funny scenes happen between the two. He’s a repugnantly adorable though simple character who serves as comedic relief, bumbling sidekick, and shipper fuel (KI-RO!!!).
Judas is the third member of the main three. He’s an agent of the Babylon cult, though Kick doesn’t necessarily know that. Also he… stabs… things. Yeah, there really isn’t too much about him just yet.
All in all, I’d say Mystery Babylon is a very good web comic with excellent art, at least when compared to most other web comics. The dialogue can seem a bit wordy and forced sometimes, but generally proceeds smoothly. The story itself is intriguing, though it hasn’t yet had an opportunity to really unfold. I find how it draws inspiration from Revelations and rolls with it to be very interesting, adding both a sense of identity to it as a well as a bit of esoteric flavor. It’s shaping up to be one hell of a series.
Oh c’mon, I had to.
Mystery Babylon, including all the images used here, is the creative property of Val Hochberg. The comic currently updates every Monday. There is a prequel comic called Kick Girl, but I haven’t been able to find it online which shouldn’t matter since the two comics are meant to stand on their own. Other works by the same creator can be found on her deviantart account.