Hi, everybody. It’s Delta-v, and I have a new webcomic to tell you about. The story is set in England following an unspecified general disaster that has severely damaged civilization, and chronicles the travels of two characters who need each other but don’t get along very well (well, one of them doesn’t). “Big deal”, you say? “Heard it before”, you say? Well, one of them is a smart-alec robot. Is that more interesting?
Artist and main writer Tasha (herinafter known as THE Tasha), and Daniel Sharp, her not-all-that-silent-occasional-writing-partner, have collaborated to make the webcomic something special. THE Tasha said it was all right with her, so let’s go check out the adventures of Tethered.
A young woman named Cara is making her way through the rubble of a city somewhere south of Stonehenge, as she travels toward Scotland. Her careful progress is interrupted by a bilious green mist that fills the street before her.
Donning a gas mask which she has handy, Cara races to the shelter of a nearby house, where she finds safety, and a robot (android, actually–it’s human-shaped). She attacks the android, and in the struggle, falls through the floor, and is knocked unconscious. When she comes to, she discovers that the mist is back and her gas mask was broken in the fall. She attempts to outrun the mist, but fails, and is overcome. As she slumps to the ground, a metal hand gently places a breathing mask on her face, and the android carries her to safety.
Reviving for a second time, Cara is unhappy to find that she owes the android (whose name is “Ed”, by the way) for saving her life, dismayed to find that the mask is a non-removable part of him, and furious to learn that she can’t survive another exposure, so she must tether herself to Ed (hence the name of the comic), and take him with her. Ed is fine with this, since he’s been wanting to leave, but fears the mobs outside. After a false start or so, the two set off for Scotland.
How I Found It:
Why I Like It:
The artwork is excellent, the colors pleasing and harmonious except for the times they are meant to be jarring for dramatic purposes. THE Tasha’s training in animation shows itself in page layout and panel composition, and the whole comic has rather an animation vibe, as though the panels were about to start moving. The characters–even the minor ones–are well-realized, and convincingly portrayed. Ed’s face is a collection of pixels on a computer screen, which gives THE Tasha a practically limitless hand. in rendering his expressions, and oh, does she take advantage of that.
Cara, on the other hand, spends a good bit of her time with her lower face covered, forcing THE Tasha to use only eyes and body language to get the emotion across. Fortunately for all of us, she is well able to do just that.
I found it interesting and effective that when THE Tasha is drawing a cityscape, it’s all sharp angles and brooding colors, whereas the countryside scenes are full of life, color and tranquility. At a later point in the story, a fairly hard rain envelops a city, and the transformation is amazing as the raindrops soften the sharpness, and mute the colors.
You might also have noted Ed’s attitude. He (and his writers) have honed snark to an art form. As you should know by now, I dearly love snarky characters, and having a snarky character who’s an AI, makes my joy complete. The best part here, however, is that the snarky dialog is also very clever.
This brings me to the humor in the comic. The basic premise is pretty dark, and there are a lot of dangers along the way, but Cara’s grumping at Ed, and Ed’s irrepressible outlook add a counterbalance that is greatly appreciated. Sometimes, usually at the most unexpected times, outright slapstick-style humor will present itself, and break the tension. The comic is not frothy, nor is it overly brooding. but a pleasing blend of emotions that engage and delight the reader.
The writing is also noteworthy. THE Tasha is an excellent writer, as is Daniel Sharp. Since Dan is also deeply involved with all the carnage that The Demon Archives has gone through lately, I like to tease him about it (hey, everybody needs a hobby). But the fact remains, Dan can tell a story, and he can write. He’s currently assisting with the dialog, which is why I said that he’s a not-all-that-silent-writing-partner.
With both THE Tasha and Dan adding ideas to the mix, I have found the result to be a tasty dish, indeed. The characters are interesting, and make you care what happens to them, and the story draws you in and invites you to explore with the authors all the twists and turns that circumstances demand. It’s fun watching Cara’s open hostility towards Ed soften into something that is almost acceptance–not that she would admit it, of course, but it’s still a fascinating process.
What Could Be Done Better:
This category gives me the most trouble of the whole review. In all the reviews I’ve done I’ve found something like three, maybe four things to mention–total. This is no exception, as I can’t think of anything I would like to be different.
I really like the way THE Tasha is developing the basic premises, being bold, yet thoughtful, and exploring the possibilities with a practiced eye, and a fresh viewpoint. It makes for some interesting reading.
When you check Tethered out, please take the time to share a comment. It will be an encouragement, and also let me know that you enjoyed it too. Tethered is on the Top Web Comics site, in the Top 200 level, no less. Your vote would help keep a very deserving comic in the light where others can see it . Please start by clicking HERE.