A dark fantasy story about a named Ephelia who wants to be a knight.
Wingless: The Dovecote Princess by S.A. confused me. Not because the story lacked anything –because it doesn’t. It is a fabulous tale about a young naïve girl too stubborn to adhere to the advice of those around her (your typical heroine story). It opens with a powerful intro and offers a strong unique concept. What I found confusing was the art and writing style chosen for this tale. Both of them clearly work, but I’ll explain what I mean in the corresponding sections.
Before I continue, I need to address that although this comic looks cute (pardon the image above), it isn’t. It is 100% NSFW because of the amount of violence and detail presented with said violence. All images that I will be using as examples in this review, will be taken from the Tapastic version of this comic which has been “censored” –I use this word lightly since the censoring doesn’t really do much in the long run. However, this review is based on the uncensored version.
As I mentioned, this comic is fabulous. I’ve known about it for some time, but it was another one of those reads that I never really picked up for some reason that I no longer know. The plot is very complex and in depth. There are a lot of “spider webs” that will eventually link together as the story progresses. Oddly enough, this comic moves fairly slowly even though it doesn’t feel like it. With Wingless already on chapter five, we have yet to get to the main story arc –Ephelia is still on the road towards her first destination.
The way that S.A. has made the story move allows for a slower plotline without the reader truly noticing. The main character is undoubtedly unaware of her situation. This has allowed S.A. to create scenes that leave both Ephelia and the reader wondering, “What the heck happened?” With this much power over the character and the readers (more so the character than the reader), S.A. has allowed the plot to move towards its destination at a slower rate, but still leaves the reader satisfied by providing adrenaline-pumping scenes that gradually release more information about Ephelia’s “condition.”
As for the writing, it is pretty solid. I saw little to no grammar and spelling errors, and it has some truly beautiful monologue moments.
There are some instances where there are too many speech bubbles on one page with lots of conversation from either one character, or multiple conversations. For the most part, these don’t really deter you from the comic. More show less tell, but the tell isn’t really an issue in my opinion.
Remember how I said that the writing can be kind of confusing? Well, I think it has to do with the fact that the writing feels slightly juvenile at times, but the words that S.A. chooses are not geared towards a younger audience. In fact, they have a very sophisticated vibe. I think this confusion in the writing is tied to the art style choice. My brain wants to associate cute with innocent, but that isn’t the case here.
The art that we are presented with is very cutesy, but the story is not. What we are left with is a contrast in storytelling styles. Our minds have difficulty associating violence with innocence. When you see a comic like Wingless, the first thing your mind does is try to comprehend what it just saw. The next stage your mind will go through determines whether you continue reading, or walk away. I’d like to think a good number of us walk away. However, if you are anything like me, you find contrasting styles intriguing (plus I kind of have a dark soul).
S.A. took a risk by combining two very different styles together, and although my brain finds this confusing, my mind is pleased. One question I have to ask though, is whether the amount of gore that is presented is necessary. For the most part, I’d say yes. The story revolves around the violence, and it adds to the contrasting style conundrum. That being said, there are moments where I’m not sure you need that much blood and guts to get the point across –especially if it prevents the reader from understanding what is happening in the scene.
Aside from the violence, S.A. brings in some astounding backgrounds, opening up the comic to beautiful landscapes. Wingless is also in full colour. Although this does add to the dramatization of the violent scenes, it also debuts S.A’s pretty colour palettes and talents in shading and detailing.
Lastly, Wingless can be kind of comical in its over-dramatization of character expressions. Another factor that might add to the internal confliction that one might have towards this comic, yet I find it oddly endearing.
To conclude, Wingless is not a comic that everyone will enjoy, but it is a comic that I wish everyone would. It’s a horrifically lovely story that was clearly cared for with many hours of hard work and planning put into it to create a detailed plot. I will continue to follow along with Ephelia’s story, but I do hope she reaches a more progressive point in the story soon.
If you want to give Wingless: The Dovecote Princess by S.A. a read, check it out here: