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Welp, now Ken’s on the case! (get it?)

I watched all the Netflix Voltron. It’s, you know, it’s pretty cool. Unfortunately, it never really breaks free of being a kids show, albeit one with awesome production value and beautiful animation. While Legend of Korra and the Avatar gave us some very complex character motivations and devastatingly difficult moral choices for those characters, Voltron has yet to match that more adult level of storytelling. I don’t dislike Voltron, but two seasons in and there is still no reason to see Zarkon as anything but an evil tyrant. Give me just a little bit of backstory on the main villains that makes them relatable and/or sympathetic, and Voltron could very well be my new favorite thing. Also, couldn’t they just toss the original 80’s theme music in there? Or at least get a more notable composer? The best thing I can say about the Voltron soundtrack is that it’s inoffensive.

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  • charles81

    Cho used Loop and Scoop
    It was super effective!

    Ken disar… erm… unpacks them.

    • Bree

      That should really put the brothers in a tight spot. I canknot wait to see how things develop.

  • Kid Chaos

    His memory may not be so hot, but he’s got a new sword! And pretty good timing, since he chose to attack while the bro was…er…tied

    • Bree

      You never know, he might work with Ken to box the brothers in.

  • clogboy

    I enjoyed watching Voltron, but also felt painfully aware that this is a pacifier for pre-teens. It is chiché and lacks excitement. The lines are sometimes sketchy, the colors are flat with just shadow (no highlights etc), most positive I can say is that the CGI isn’t too intrusive.
    Let’s say it’s like they learned a hard lesson from Korra. They plan to stay in business by staying within budget, rather than make the very best possible product they can (like Korra).
    The good bits? As diverse as the characters are, they all show something relatable, without being overly dramatic. The gags are actually funny (like finding an Earth-made gameconsole but nowhere on the ship a port to connect it to), and the plot is somewhat engaging with a good moral sense of right and wrong without being preachy or overly leading. To this end they did afford themselves sufficient plot convenience.
    While Zarkon lacks motivation except for being evil and power hungry, the second season also conveys a good message with regard to prejudice.
    While it ranks pretty high on the nostalgia scale, it’s also safe to watch with your kids.

    • Bum

      It’s a sad fact that as we age our tastes age with us. Have you ever gone back and watched what you did as a kid. I would almost bet money that you didn’t enjoy it. The Netflix Voltron was definitely made to pander to it’s target audience, but then again what isn’t. I liked how they were able to mix the goofy characters in with the overly serious ones. It didn’t come off as too contrived from that perspective. I do agree the BBEG came off as terribly shallow in the development department, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a jerk that you hate simply because he is a jerk.

      • clogboy

        Right? I mean, who wants an emphatizable bad guy. Although sometimes they are the most complex.
        I think that we develop our likes and dislikes is a good thing. First time I watched ‘Once upon a time in the West’ I knew it was something different. And then there are those other mindfucks like Shutter Island. Some movies don’t only change the way we watch TV forever, but the world as a whole.
        And it takes a simplistic set of morals to judge those movies by for what they really are: brilliant and unique. Then consider Voltron like a base layer to paint on.

  • Bree

    You could say that Ken snapped.

    • purplelibraryguy

      Oh, snap!

      • Bree

        Don’t worry, we’ll have this sorted out in a snap.

  • Bree

    I do hope we have some real meaty discussion here.

  • foducool

    “knot today” made my day XD

    • Xinef

      Yup… I don’t remember what was my favorite sound effect until now, so KNOTTODAY can take the spot. :3

      • Flaming Squirrel

        Ehh, mine still goes to KADOOSH.

        • Xinef

          Oh wait, I think I found my previous top sound effect. Page 277. HOLYCRAP

          • Flaming Squirrel

            Page 223 has “BLADES!”

          • Xinef

            Unless they’re made of divine poop, I don’t care.

          • Falling Star

            I’m personally a fan of “OH? NO! HE DI’INT!”

          • KungFuKlobber

            “IMPLAUSIBLE!” from Page 508.

          • Turul

            I’m going to have to pick “DOOM”. Although I dig “CHILDHUG!” and “SHEATHCATCH!” too.

          • Nos Rin aka CTCO

            sheathcatch is pretty cool.

          • purplelibraryguy

            Me too. Definitely an old favourite. Partly because I liked the joke about the Tao not intending the guy to pass.

        • suburban_samurai

          One of my fav sfx on the down low is DRRAAAAMMMAAAAAA. I think it really helps set the mood for the scene.

      • Dylan

        I always was a fan of DOOR’D…

    • Bree

      No love for other sound effects?


      • foducool

        knot my thing, sorry

        • Bree

          Well you took the wind out of my sails–even sunk my ship. Guess that means you’re in charge of a dreadknot.

  • Flaming Squirrel

    I have three things to say about today’s comic…

    1. You know you’re awesome when your sound effects become puns.
    2. I love how disappointed Tang looks. Like a kid whose new toy just got taken away.
    3. I can’t decide if that was a lucky fluke on Ken’s side, or if his new sword really does make him fast enough to take on Wu and Tang. Probably not. If anything, the case is going to break open when it falls and give Tang a crap ton of new toys to throw at him.

    • Xinef

      Well… Matrix gave Ken that new sword specifically because of his earlier failures against WuTang and Nataku, so it would be a bit pointless if it didn’t improve his chances against them.

      So I’d expect at least a noticeably better performance from Ken this time. Unless of course he proves that some things just don’t change.

      But believe it or not, I actually have some faith in Ken’s ability to learn from his mistakes, because he really wants to kick Nataku’s butt, even if he has to… *LE GASP*… do some extra training, change of tactics, and such.

      • Bree

        From the positioning of the last panel and the penultimate panel, in spite of my puns to the contrary, real talk: I actually think Ken’s going to get creamed again. I’m at least hopeful it won’t be as EASY as last time–but the way those last two panels play out, it looks like the brother actually WANTED Ken to hit the straps:

        This would dislodge the case, probably open it from the force of impact with the ground, and allow for quicker access to replacement weaponry than manually taking the case off and opening it. In that way, Ken might have actually HELPED them, rather than inconvenience them.

        After all, we’re talking about two badasses who last time together overwhelmed Cho, resident ultimate badass. For all of their flawed interpretations of the tao, they’re still incredibly skilled martial artists and likely are almost as attuned to the tao as Cho himself is–so they can predict simple cause/effect actions like the above.

        • Xinef

          Do note though, that if the case opens, it will fill up with water, and possibly some weapons will fall out and get wet. This may lead to some epic splashes of water as the brothers fish them out, but generally is an inconvenience.

          Unless you splash dirty water into your opponent’s face with every attack.

          • Bree

            Wet weapons might be an inconvenience long-term, but for most weapons, I don’t see the immediate disadvantage. It’s not like the weapons suddenly being wet causes them to become instantly blunt.

          • Xinef

            I’d expect the weapon’s grip to become slippery from the mud and any water-absorbing parts like ropes could get heavier. Mostly that.

            True, the spike on the rope is the only weapon that would lose a lot of utility from getting wet.

        • Nos Rin aka CTCO

          he could have simply taken it off, now he can no longer carry it. I see no advantage in this for them.

      • Flaming Squirrel

        Even if he’s learning, and the new sword gives him a slightly better edge, keep in mind: he didn’t just lose to Wu and Tang last time, he got freaking OBLITERATED. I doubt that whatever meager skills he picked up between their last fight and now will be enough to cover that gap.

        • Xinef

          I wonder if Matrix tempered with the sword though… maybe it’s got some technomagical properties? … nah, probably I’m overthinking it.

        • purplelibraryguy

          He’s also been in a few fights since then. There’s clever new techniques and then there’s the “school of hard cleaves”.

    • Bree

      Yeah, when your sound effects become puns, it’s a sign that you’re capable of dealing out some INCREDIBLE punishment.

  • IDPounder

    That sound effect in panel five really should have been “guessknot”. :)

    • Bree

      Yeah, I had the same thought, and was awaiting the discussion to be had on it–to be honest, I’m a bit surprised that knot a soul before yours brought it up.

      • Xinef

        I’d say both sound effects are… tied… in terms of awesomeness.

        • Bree

          Eh, while I’d say they’re reelly close, to me there’s knot a contest.

    • Michael Newbury

      Would “KnotToday!” be a Game of Thrones reference?

  • Sunwu

    Case closed!

  • Hfar

    And as we all know, no one unsettles Ken’s beef and gets away with it! Luckily his chicken and his pork are just fine.

    • Bree

      I bacon your pardon, good sir/madam, but I must respectfully disagree, as we know Ken is vulnerable to being cocky.

  • Cirago

    The sound effects for this comic are the best and most lovingly-crafted on the whole interwebz <3

    I think AtlA and Korra set a pretty high bar. I keep hoping for something more like that, or even Young Justice (which might be coming back!??!) but on the other hand, I can understand producer demands/decisions to tone things down for a younger audience (I don't agree with it, mind. I think kids can handle a lot more than most adults give them credit for).
    I agree with your points on the show, and I thought season 2's storytelling actually went down a little compared to S1, but I'm still enjoying it for the art and characters, at least. If they could just kick that storytelling up a notch it would go from "generally enjoyable" to "heck YEAH."

    Here's hoping with season 3 we'll get some more look into the Galra Empire backstory side of things, too? With the Haggar-reveal/tidbit and the incoming Lotor it sounds like we might be getting some reasons to delve into more flashbacks and exposition, and I do love me some worldbuilding exposition! <3

  • Discorvid


  • Discorvid

    Obligatory shriek at Ken also…I have the “Obsessive Ken fan” status to uphold

  • Ladon

    Who needs Memory? I have a new sword!

  • SlugFiller

    Ken actually did something useful?
    I’m actually surprised he didn’t end up hitting the rope instead.

  • Norman Perrin

    Knot Knot!
    Who’s there?
    Ken who?
    Ken we go for some Thai food?

  • Nos Rin aka CTCO

    I’m old fashioned and cheesy maybe, but I don’t want to RELATE to my villain. Maybe I dont get the phrase, but…. Now, sympathetic, sort of, although that just makes me angry when they dont succeed in their secret good plot.
    There was an anime where the villain originally tried to save people and had just a smidgen of good left in his heart so because he wasn’t “pure” of heart, he couldn’t use thing. he wasn’t purely good or purely evil.
    and what’s with villains often being super smart and heroes just being punch dudes. (I mean I guess a lot of them ARE smart but you see a lot of Evil GENIUSES) It’s just, odd.

    • suburban_samurai

      There are very few people who are 100% evil. Usually the most evil of people see themselves as the hero, championing a world view in which they have complete conviction. Understanding that person’s world view and mindset for their actions can make them sympathetic, or at least relatable even if what they’re doing is still reprehensible to most. And when you can apply that deconstruction of motivation to the villain character, I think it elevates a story to a higher level.

      • Nos Rin aka CTCO

        The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

        Something like that right?

      • purplelibraryguy

        You have a point . . . on the other hand, every time someone suggests a cartoon villain as being unrealistically lacking in redeeming features or angsty backstory, I start thinking about some of the real-life villains around in the world today. Now it’s always hard to be sure about the “official enemies” who are always supposedly insane Hitler-equivalents and you can’t sort the propaganda from the person.
        But take people like Richard Cheney. Where’s the nuance in that man? In foreign policy he favours massacres, in attitude he always comes off like a badly pissed-off wolverine who wants to bite your balls off, and for personal entertainment he apparently enjoys shooting defenceless creatures, not in the wilderness where they might have a chance, but in specially arranged surroundings where they can’t run and can’t hide. The only thing wrong with him for a cartoon villain is he’s too boring. And there are a bunch of people like that, psychopaths who appear to have no feelings for other people and no motivations except greed and perhaps a bit of bloodthirstiness.
        It can still make a better STORY if the villain has relatable aspects, but it’s not necessarily more REALISTIC.

        • suburban_samurai

          Well, sure, there are always psychopaths, sociopaths, and people who have been taught or taught themselves to dehumanize huge groups of people that they don’t immediately relate to, but I was generally thinking in terms of what I see as interesting narrative. And I’m willing to bet that Cheney probably has some humanizing characteristic. Maybe he has a friend or family member that he generally cares about and has gone out of his way to do something nice for…maybe.

  • Galeden

    Well, to Ken’s credit, his sword is literally half the size of the blade he used last time.

  • ColdFusion

    yeah I think Voltron blew their entire wad on the art and writing, there wasn’t any left for music.. though music is kinda dying right now, in animation, games, everything’s on the decline soundtrackwise. Nothing’s very distinct or memorable anymore.

    • suburban_samurai

      I’m going to strongly, wildly, disagree with your assessment on soundtracks. I do think that film scores have become less distinct for a lot of reasons (overworked composers, directors editing to generic placeholder music that they then expect the composer to match, very short turn around expectations, etc), but we’ll still occasionally get a great movie soundtrack here and there. But VIDEO GAME MUSIC? Video game music is FREAKING FANTASTIC, from top to bottom! Hell, Gravity Rush 2’s soundtrack is so wild and catchy and energetic and that game came out this month. Neir Automata and Breath of the Wild’s soundtracks sound amazing from what little we’ve heard in trailers and demos. I’ve listened to the Xenoblade Chronicles X soundtrack for dozens more hours than I’ve played the game. I’m still listening to the Shovel Knight soundtrack on a weekly basis. FF15’s music is sweeping epic and intense. Television also has some great soundtracks. STEVEN UNIVERSE!! So much current anime has diverse and memorable scores that are composed around the identity of the series. On top of all that, there’s just so MUCH music out there, and it’s all readily available! Maybe it’s not that nothing’s memorable for you, so much as there’s just too much of it and you tend not zero in on any one thing?

      (I love video game music)

  • TheGreatEater

    Seriously awesome story. It took me almost all day to read every page, but it was worth it.

    Both of y’all do an amazing job with this story and it’s been one of my top 5 favorites for years. Keep up the good work, and thank y’all for the time, effort, and energy required to make this story for everyone.

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