Trip Across the Multiverse
The sense of ease you have about your expectations will serve you well. The pressure cooker that is our brain can turn against us--I saw each of your hiatus notices, and was pleased to see that you did in fact press on each time. I can think of a few people I've seen who have been so disappointed in themselves or so bitter about circumstance that they gave up on their passion project. Out of shame, of all things! Your flexible realism should help you endure the many trials of putting your creative work out there for everyone (or no one) to see. it should also help you receive the slings and arrows of outrageous criticisms that I may have.
But while it is important that you maintain your obvious sense of stability and peace of mind, I would hope that you are not allowing that to shift into nonchalance and laziness. That is probably the most prolific murderer of ambition and creation. So far so good, right?
You shouldn't have to worry about the furry angle. You've maintained innocence in design. Also, bear in mind as you read this section that I ultimately think your art is sufficient. Now that that's out of the way, I want to give some modest praise for the leap of quality you've made since you began your journey. You've improved in every aspect--the line-work is more confident and lively, the expressions (which were good from the get go) are even more compelling, and your anatomy has sharpened and refined itself. Gone are most of the clumsy looking hands and the erratic proportions.
I have to say, though, I'm disappointed that you abandoned the original style. The more bestial faces, mostly meaning the more cat like mouths and eyes, are far more compelling and cool looking than the derivative Zootopia mimic you have going here. This is definitely a personal taste, but I find animal media far more interesting the closer it gets to the animal side of things--visually and all. The balance you have now is safer but pretty boring. That is by far my most important issue with the art. It is competent, but it is whitebread. I don't see any risks being taken or any big dramatic panels being attempted. Safe is safe, it is never great.
Check out Pages 48-53. This is a good example. There is nothing inherently wrong with anything here other than the total lack of energy. Big onomatopoeia and action lines do not an exciting confrontation scene make. I feel no rush of adrenaline or tension here. The poses aren't stiff, but they're basic. The angles and perspectives aren't oblong or flawed, but they are definitely uninspiring. I'm fairly certain this is all wrapped up in the unique brand of comic dynamics: presentation. Your art is good enough to do the job, but the character design and the presentation of the page encourages no circuit of energy between the reader and the page. Is the comic fun? Yes, you've accomplished that goal. Is it exciting? Absolutely not.
A few more words on character design, as this is the only other possible problem that deserves nuance--you have slick characters who are mostly distinct (which may be owed mostly to color differences) but they are very bland. Cats in clothes is all they are. Nothing about Vance's appearance suggests anything about his personality or character arc other than Ranger training induced fitness. His image relies on the contrast of his green eyes and his black fur to make him look badass and dangerous. There's nothing else going on there. The same applies to Trip, who is probably the most disappointing example of the change of style. He looks great in the first few pages, but he's quickly lost himself in his archetype. We'll talk about that in a bit. Hound is maybe the worst offender here. What a boring looking antagonist he is. he really is just a clean looking Fox in a jumpsuit.
For me, this is where animal stories should be most compelling--there are so many CRAZY creatures out there of all kinds, with fantastically compelling physiology and cultural symbology attached to them. I can only wonder, then, why your characters seem so vanilla. I can't say for certain. I suspect it may have something to do with either your comparatively blase expectations or a slight lack of confidence. Or is it the conventions of the genre? This is something to think about, because this screams opportunity, especially given how many characters you've already introduced.
Once again, it is sufficient. I'm mostly concerned with why it isn't great, which it certainly could be. It's the same problem as the art--it's pretty boring. it is fun, it is amusing, and it is pleasing to the eye, but I am not excited about the comic, nor am I waiting with baited breath for the resolution of the conflict. Part of this is pacing--this comic moves erratically, and even more strangely, happens to be slowest during the least interesting parts.
The strong start--Mr. Hunt getting gunned down--is resolved harmlessly a few pages later. The dramatic entrance of Hound is almost immediately dealt with--off screen, no less. Each time the comic presents me with an intriguing and exciting possibility, the story leaps forward. Another example--the green eyed watcher in the woods. We cut away from it shadowing Trip and Vance and are back in the safety of daytime. It's very strange. Conversely, we have spent quite a few pages following the dull investigations of Hunt and Carmen and the already numerous asymmetrical conversations between Trip and Vance. This is by far the biggest problem of the writing. The story has some compelling moments that are almost immediately rushed along. I keep thinking of more examples--the fight between Vance and Hershel ends IMMEDIATELY. It's a disservice to your efforts.
The dialogue ranges from passable to downright amusing.I don't find it contributing much--and frankly, the constant "dude"s from Trip have become excessive and frustrating. Hound is awkward, Hunt is hit or miss in his grizzled middle aged grit, and the rest don't have much to say. At least not yet.
It's a competent comic, no doubt about it. Rereading my review, it may seem very negative, but my primary point is that you have tools that you aren't using. This has great potential, but it is hamstrung by something I can't determine myself. I leave it to you to examine whether you are putting real effort into this. It is equally rushed and torpid. It seems to rely on the simplest of genre conventions while avoiding the most compelling. It's early in the story, and I'm sure there is a long way to go. Your vision will be realized in time, i'm sure, but I hope you dare to have one or two pretensions. They might do wonders.