The specific focus on fantastical zoology stands out. I personally love that. I can predict that if it's part of your sell, then others will be drawn in as well. It's a great angle--too many fantasies focus so much on character drama that the world around them clots up with filler and uninspired nonsense. It's a peril I'm trying to avoid myself. I hope the speculative evolution is part of the hook you use to get readers. I think it would be appreciated.
I love seeing how everyone is committed to learning and improving their craft. That seems obvious, but in the many months I've lurked the forums of various sites and perused the well known webcomics, it is startling how apparent it is that people can't, won't, or just don't improve or reach or show passion for doing more than what is asked of them. I'm thrilled to see so many people making that commitment in this thread. It's hard, of course, but it must be worth it.
I really tried, but I could not find very much to go on in terms of artistic gripes. In the service of honesty, your art is probably my favorite--not just in the thread, but among the very few comics that I feel comfortable following. Now some of this is vanity--your tiny pupil eyes for extreme emotion and the general grim edge to the strokes and designs are something I go for in my own art. But divorced from that, you have such a professional, polished look--I could not find any errors or sloppiness. on a technical level, I have nothing to criticize. You'll have to find someone more advanced than I.
The only issues are incidental, few and far between. Mr. Bardy is stiff as a board in ever panel he's in. In Chapter 2, Page 10, the boy's hand, when he's jumping sideways, looks a little stunted. I'm really grasping at straws here, though. I think this is the first time that I am both blinded by my personal love for your work and that your skills, as they are manifest in your comic, are at a level of quality that I, where I am, cannot impugn.
All I can say, as part of a critique, is that you are genuinely very talented and very dedicated. When i look at comics, including my own, I tend to assume that I will be going back to edit and improve older work or sloppy work. I've done that a few times for my own stuff. Here, I can see that you probably won't need to--the level of TASTEFUL detail you put into your pages has generated an infectious energy in me. As the reader, I am 150% certain, without any doubt, that you are giving your all to the material you make. Really great job, bud, this comic looks excellent.
A few of my favorite things that I encourage you to focus on for MY benefit: The mother. Oh my god. As soon as I saw that panel, I became eternally invested. The look in her eyes... I didn't expect to be facing such a subplot, whatever horror lies beneath, but the quiet dread of that eye speaks volumes.
The kid design is stellar. I especially like how you restrained yourself--he isn't scary, but he is a level of bizarre and alien that is immediately unnerving and adorable. The mouth full of jaws is the perfect example. Nothing dramatic there, it's just multiple rows of mouths... but boy oh boy.
Des looks great as well. Once again, simplicity shows its power. It may be my fatigue of bubbly female MCs, but her beleaguered face and Native American stoicism (shown through her face) are knockouts. She visually radiates her character, which made it easy to immediately become emotionally invested in the unspoken tribulations of her life.
I think I actually do have one issue, but even this may be slight--the animals, while impeccably rendered, do not have very inspiring designs. The Dire Elk, I'll call it, looks majestic, but it doesn't feel primal or awe inspiring. The Hellpigs are rather bland--while still being interesting, because few have used warthogs as meaningful predators--and the Pteradactyls are what you'd expect. Now, as we discussed, this is speculative evolution, and I want to clarify that I am not advocating some surreal dream like fauna. I understand that you are pursuing a reasonable line of adaptations and familiar mutations, which is definitely cool. But I would suggest that you could afford to be bolder in your creature design. None of the creatures have the impact of Des's mother's face, or the boy's alien physiology, or Des's own statuesque visage. You could go further and be grander, if you wanted to.
It's early still. I will need much more to make a clear judgement, but here, too, I think you have things 100% under control. Sure, the dialogue is never jumping out at me as clever or beautifully written, or haunting, or otherwise emotionally gripping. That is true. Still, your artwork does an excellent job showing everything I could want to know. I'll try not to gush anymore about the single instance of the mother being its own 500 page prequel, but it will be hard. it's emblematic of the visual storytelling at which you are excelling. And even the words do their job--Pages 17-19 are so powerful. My heart sank reading through it. The words spoken were not themselves striking, but the character expression--and the small, imprecise backgrounds we have of both characters--create a striking moment of drama.
The punch felt like a plot device, though. I don't believe she would punch him there. It felt like you were seeking a way to hurt him or draw blood to trigger the dimensional jump. That's a guess, of course. Punching is the most straightforward way, and it provides a face to face transition.
What else can I say? I'm almost guilty--I can't offer as meaty a review as I promised, I don't think this was helpful other than as a moral boost--if one was even needed. You are better off being critiqued by higher powers, as I do not have the knowledge to offer the technical insights for the artwork, and the writing is sufficient enough on its own. Your art is spectacular and compelling, creating an aura of despair and menace with a delightful and pleasing face; your writing is decent and unobtrusive, providing the skeleton for the art to continue exerting its strange power over the reader. Really, you're knocking this out of the park, bud, I hope you take this as far as you possibly can.