Panda Days, Issues 1-4: A Jaded and Biased Review


Meet Panda, your average teenage girl with one exception – she is constantly assaulted by ninjas that it seems nobody else in her life can see. Also say hello to Mocha, a comic book writer who is writing a comic with a main character that is eerily similar to Panda… Oh and he somehow can see the ninjas that constantly assault Panda.

Panda Days by Jason Dube is a zany comic book series that harkens back to those crazy late 90s-early 2000s anime comedies like Cromartie High School or Excel Saga. Actually a more accurate, but lesser known, comparison would be earlier Steven Chow films. These are comedies that are very random in which you spend a lot of the time thinking “What the #$%& is going on?!?!?” If you enjoy that kind of comedy and are willing to let this comic take you on a wild ride, then Panda Days is for you!

The character designs in this comic are highly stylized. It reminds me a little of a cross between Bratz and Homies. The characters’ bodies are oddly proportioned with small torsos and slightly longer limbs along with large head, feet and Popeye-esque forearms. Frankly, I feel this choice in the art direction fits well with the tone of the comic. After all, when you have a comic with things like a Vampire Barista, Ninjas that only two people can see and a Giant Panda Bear who spouts out fortune cookie dialog, it helps to have a world in which things don’t look very realistic.

For the most part Panda Days is enjoyable and witty (especially the hilarious Twilight gag). That being said, there are two minor problems and one fairly decent issue that will bring my score down a bit.

First off, there are a few grammar problems throughout the series. The most glaring being the misuse of the word “you’re” that appears in multiple issues. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with excellent proofreaders such as JP and The Panda Mom to help correct my grammar errors and the occasional Engrish sentences in my reviews. I hope that Mr. Dube will be fortunate enough to find someone like them to proofread his future issues. Personally, a few grammar errors here and there don’t bother me, but as a reviewer I’d be remiss not to mention this as I know it can be a big turn off for some people.

The next issue I had was the choice of font for the Giant Panda’s speech. It’s made to look like Asian characters which I can understand since Pandas are Asian and the character speaks in cryptic and prophetic ways. However, the font choice is too close to various Asian characters. If you can read Kanji, Hanzi or Hokkien (aka Japanese, Chinese or Taiwanese respectively) this can be a bit jarring. A couple of my friends and I had trouble trying to read the Panda’s dialog since we initially tried reading it as Kanji, Hanzi and Hokkien. This, however, is a very small issue as our experience in those foreign languages would represent the minority of the Panda Days target audience.

My big issue with the series is pacing. If you have listened to the Geek Life podcast, or read my reviews, you know that pacing is a big deal for me. And while the comic’s writing moves at a good pace, the plot does not. I realize it’s a very random comic, but I wish the story had more progression after 4 issues. By the very end of issue 4 we get a glimpse of the main antagonist of the story… I think; but there is little else explained outside of what I wrote in the first paragraph of this review.

I realize that after the last few paragraphs it may seem that I didn’t like Panda Days, but that is not the case. This is a funny, charming and solid comic series that can be a nice change of pace from the main stream Super Hero comics.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 issues

Your friendly neighborhood egotistical reviewer, THE Brian

comments powered by Disqus