Review of Applegeeks, volume 2
By Evan Goldaper
I’ll admit something now; I’m a webcomic junkie. Every morning, the first thing I do is roll out of bed and catch up on about ten different series. Then I worry about lesser matters like food and classes. So it was pretty exciting for me to read Weird Science, the recently-published second book of the webcomic Applegeeks. For the uninitiated (like myself), the series concerns Hawk, a nerdy inventor, and his android “girlfriend,” Eve. Applegeeks is clever, but the book has some issues that may make readers think twice before picking it up.
To begin, the comic has some terrific artwork. Mohammad F. Haque is a great digital artist and his skill with Photoshop is apparent throughout. The colors are bold and bright and there are many interesting lighting and gradient effects that create consistently attractive backgrounds. The designs of the characters, particularly Hawk, show a great deal of personality, and their manga-inspired, over-the-top facial expressions are always good for a laugh. Far too many comics these days neglect the importance of visual humor, and thankfully Applegeeks does not. However, Haque often experiments with different styles, and though his alternate designs do not display any less skill, the switch between them can often be jarring.
As for the writing, the series tries to balance comedy strips with serious, sci-fi action. The humor is clever, but probably funnier for those who love Apple. Some jokes were probably better when they were written; though this book was just released, it contains the strips from 2005 and 2006. But not every strip is funny—despite occasional wit, the dialogue sometimes becomes boring or confusing, especially near important plot events. With that said, it is worth noting the plot-based action strips occasionally get bogged down by Applegeeks’ strip format. As each segment is intended not only to be part of a story but also to stand alone, the pacing can be awkward. There is an advantage to this–it allows readers to enter the series at any time, which means reading Applegeeks 1: Freshman Year is not necessary.
But the biggest issue is that, when all is said and done, Applegeeks is a webcomic. This means every last strip in this fifteen-dollar book is available—legally—for free at www.applegeeks.com. Weird Science does contain some quick commentary from the author, a few quotes from the artist, additional artwork and a brief behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Eve figurine, but that’s nothing essential. Fans might be interested in the book and the appeal of a nicely bound copy of a decent comic is certainly compelling. However, I definitely recommend newcomers check out the website before buying and consider if the allure of paper is worth the cost.