Traces of Chaos Has Only Just Begun

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Well, relatively speaking in web comic terms anyway. In actuality Traces of Chaos is coming up on it’s one year anniversary in June. Most of our Web Comic Wednesday features have focused on comics that are quite into their stories. At around fourty pages in, ToC is a nice lead in to what is shaping up to be quite a wild classic sci-fi story. Just when you think you’ve got it pegged down as an alien planet exploration adventure, it shifts gears in it’s next chapter to a glimpse back to Earth with our main heroine. There is a lot of substance here in this obviously well thought out series.

It’s obvious that Carina Kadow, the creator of Traces of Chaos, seems to have quite a large understanding of the universe involved. Early on we’re introduced to a feline race that obviously has it’s own mannerisms, lore, and seemly even some magic to them as with The Windwalker. That however is just speculation, as much remains a mystery about that race in general so far.

After the prologue, we’re quickly introduced to a red head who seems to be Siendes or Des for short. From what I gather from the comments, that’s accurate. She’s just landed on an alien planet with her pet cat, so there isn’t too much banter between the two since, well, her cat is literally just a cat. At least it seems that way for now anyway, I suppose in an alien planet story I shouldn’t put in any assumption. Of course Des quickly comes across some natives of the planet and things quickly pick up into some nice action scenes. I won’t spoil much, but will say it’s definitely an emotional story. That alone is a good credit to Carina’s storytelling considering the few pages that all of this happens across.

After that, the comic surprisingly switches into even a different art flow, trading bold outlines for a soft painted appearance in a story back on Earth called Another Life. This is where Siendes is formally introduced to the readers along with her friend Mona. In the comments below the comic we learn more about what life is like in general for these two, along with reference to a Sarrath attack on Earth.

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The intro initially confused me, but after you get that it’s a vision or such, and you’re more introduced to Alpha in Chapter 1 it flows a lot better. So definitely give the comic a chance and you’ll get the flow of dialogue quickly later on in Chapter 1. There’s certainly nothing wrong with creating an air of mystery like this that will lead readers to understand later, and the story does quickly become a quality adventure with surprisingly quite a lot of action.

Chapter 2, Another Life, is quite interesting art style wise. It isn’t clear if this is a change for the series, or just a new style for the flashback that will be used down the road to display the difference between current and past events. Either way, it’s a clean look. In a way almost feeling like concept art for an animated feature. The shift in focus keeps things interesting too. Don’t get me wrong, I love classic space adventure. I’ve been playing the daylights out of Starbound lately and exploring planet after planet. I also love novels that deal with strange worlds and exploring especially on ones own as Des does in Chapter 1. However, changing to a winter wonderland on Earth is such a stark contrast, it’s actually quite refreshing. It lets you know there is a lot more to Traces of Chaos and that is a good message to send, especially still within year one.

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It should also be noted that the site layout for Traces of Chaos is quite nice. I’m unsure if it’s just a template, but the iPad look of the comic and easy controls do make viewing the comic easy. The format itself features a landscape style comic page setup which fits the story well and keeps the action bouncing along without getting caught up in what may have hindered the story in a more traditional comic book style. It’s a good choice, and used well to tell the story.

Give it a go! I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but I was pleasantly surprised by how the story has been unfolding. It’s quite involved and it will be interesting to see where Carina takes it. Currently things have slowed down a little, but I think we can all relate to that feeling when working on a web comic. There is a lot of promise to Carina’s story, and it’s something that certainly looks like it will be worth the wait.

To begin the adventure of Traces of Chaos, stop by trarr.net/prologue-page-01/

Traces of Chaos is also on Top Web Comics, so don’t forget to vote for the comic if you enjoy it!


6 Comments

  1. DemonDan May 1, 2014 10:02 am 

    Yeah, Carina! I love Traces of Chaos, and have it bookmarked and favorited for reading. The characters are fun and interesting, the art is good, and I want MOAR :D

  2. Coyote May 2, 2014 10:24 am 

    Traces of Chaos is one of my faves, too, and I link to it over at BOHICA Blues– for all the reasons described here. It’s a well-done sci fi adventure, something I really love to sink my teeth into.

    Funny thing, I didn’t really notice the artistic shifts, at least not consciously. I knew there was a different feel to the chapters, and I liked how I got the feeling of progression through the events, but it wasn’t something I’d really been aware of until it was pointed out here.

    But I really liked the portrayal of alien culture & mindset. Reminded me of C.J. Cherryh’s work in the “Chanur” series, and not just because of the cats. The trarr have their own way about them; they are not just humans in funny suits.

    • DemonDan May 2, 2014 11:21 am 

      I think I have randomly read one of those Chanur books. I don’t think it was the first one either. :)

      • CarinaK May 7, 2014 4:19 am 

        I keep running into the suggestions of the Chanur series, but I’ve never even read them.

        The Trarr’s influence are more Ringworld (the Kzin clued young me into that alien races don’t need to come in human genders), Star Treck (especially the novel Uhura’s Song) and an old little game called Albion by Bluebyte. Add a dash of Miracle of Science (good comic, read it!) and Elfquest and voila – Trarr.

  3. Coyote May 2, 2014 12:12 pm 

    If you start from the beginning, it’s a pretty damn interesting series. She creates a pretty good alien mindset and culture, IMO. It was something I couldn’t help but think of while reading Carina’s work.

  4. CarinaK May 7, 2014 4:15 am 

    Thank you for the review!

    And no, the sitelayout is handcoded on wordpress. It is a template in wordpress definition, but one I made myself. The page was original bi-lingual – German and English – and none of the other comic templates offered that functionality.

    Glad you like it!

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