When the socially isolated school bookworm “Natelle” is given a demonic collar, her life is forever changed when she battles various monsters by using Buckles to turn into a monster herself! She collects their souls for her Master but for what purpose…?

Before we begin, please keep in mind that although this review is SFW, the comic is not. Please don’t read this comic if you are young, impressionable, or easily offended. 

Story

Buckle: Slave & Monster by Viro Veteruscy is a story about a girl who is a slave to a demon-like creature. The plot is layered in sexual innuendos and just straight-up vulgarity. Personally, I don’t think there is ever a time where another person should be belittled for their appearances or personality, so I struggled while reading this story quite a bit.

At least she acknowledges the terrible comments…

Normally I can deal with one character being offensive as they are generally meant to be hated by the readers. In Buckle, it feels like these comments are made to add comedic relief to the comic. I found little humour in these situations.

This comment is never appropriate.

Aside from the sexism (towards both men and women), Veteruscy offers a fairly well-developed plot for Buckle. Although there are some serious plot holes, with little to no background offered for the world, it is pretty clear what is going on. You know who the main characters are, what their purpose is (to an extent), and there is definitely going to be some character development as the story progresses. These are all very important factors to take into consideration when building a story.

One thing I would recommend when writing this story is to remember to add some background information to the world. Although it may seem clear on what is going on, there are some unanswered basic questions that need to be addressed. Think of it this way: if the reader can answer who the main characters are; what the main character’s goals are (or have some idea of the direction they are going); when the story takes place (probably the least vital); where the story takes place, then you have a happy reader. Why a character is trying to reach a particular goal isn’t always necessary as it can develop and be revealed as the story progresses. To simplify, if all the background information is provided (who, what, when, where, and why) then the readers are less confused on what is happening in the story. Once the first chapter is complete, most of this should be easily answered by the reader. Of course, this isn’t a set in stone rule, but keep it in mind when plotting out your story.

For clarification, Buckle has the who, what (for one of the characters), and when. There is little explanation as to where the story takes place and the why feels like it will be revealed over time (probably as a plot twist or character development scene). The one that needs to be addressed to make the reader more comfortable with the story is the where.

Writing

As a reminder, information does not have to just be told with words. Buckle does a lot of explanations with words, especially in the first few chapters of the story. This causes some conversations to come across as awkward or corny. Veteruscy does improve in this area as the story progresses, even implementing some more imagery to help the story develop.

The villain would have been more intimidating and vicious if there wasn’t constant commentary.

Like most webcomics, grammar errors are present so just make sure you pay attention to these and get people to proofread your work before it is released. This is something that occurs mainly in the first few chapters.

There were also a few instances where the words were very small. The way these were used were clever, as they were commonly for whispering, or side comments. However, unless the purpose of these is to represent mumbling, or incomprehensible vocals, they should be slightly larger so that they can be read easily.

Art

As I mentioned above, Buckle does have some nice scenes that provide some information via imagery. There are some great imagery moments thrown into this comic to amplify terror and evil. Veteruscy compliments these by soaking the pages in rich colours. Each scene and character is bold and vibrant.

“I’d like some evil with an extra side of terror, please.”

Buckle also has some creative designs thrown in for the demons and other characters. Although the demons tend to be relatively unoriginal concepts, they do have twists to them that make Buckle unique.

One thing I would have liked to see less of was how scantily clothed (or not at all) the characters were. I would classify these under unnecessary nudity. Now, if it was the case that the characters clothes ripped during transformation (and ripped in a logical fashion), then I would consider that nudity acceptable. However, these characters transform into entirely new clothes, or no clothes at all. Remember to ask yourself, “Does this add to the telling of the story, scene, or event?” If the answer is no, then make sure you keep that in mind before continuing with a particular design. Video games are a good example of this (primarily female characters). Many of them are scantily clothed when they should probably be wearing some form of full body armour.

However, how you decide to dress and present your characters is an artistic choice. How the readers react to that shouldn’t be your concern in the long run.

The same can’t be said for basic artistic rules, though. For example, it is important to follow vanishing points. There were a few scenes where parts of buildings or characters did not continue down the same vanishing point. Break out that ruler and make sure things align! Your page will thank you.

“See, this is why we take our time with installing windows…maybe they won’t notice.

Veteruscy makes up for these little mistakes by having some nice clean panel designs. Straight lines, clear, and easy to follow the flow from one panel to the next. These all help the reader read each page smoothly and eliminate any awkward conversation breaks due to panel placement errors.

I originally was going to use this as an example for something else…

The last thing I’d like to highlight with the art is the facial structure. For the most part, it was very nice, with large eyes, small mouth and nose –a typical design. The one issue I have here (and maybe it’s just me) is that the profiles are very flat. I’ve noticed that this is a very common artistic choice when using this design style. Personally, I’d like to see more depth to profile shots. It may add a bit more to a scene if the face was a more standard format.

She’s trying to be so serious, I almost want to feel the proper emotions for the scene. If only her face wasn’t so… flat…

Conclusion

To conclude, this comic should not be read by young audiences or those that are easily offended. I personally would not read this comic again, but I would not write it off for everyone. There is some great plot opportunity in this story, with a clear direction. I believe Viro Veteruscy has put a lot of time and effort into the development of this story.

Buckle also offers some nice artwork, with bold, gorgeous colours. There has been clear improvement from page one, and I’m sure that Veteruscy will continue to improve as the story progresses.


 

If you would like to read Buckle: Slave & Monster by Viro Veteruscy, check it out on Tapastic!