Powerup Comics is fantastic and great. It has distilled the very essence of gamer comic into a single, beautiful, 3-panel dream. Where Penny Arcade originates and CAD and VGCats shamelessly ape, Powerup innovates and, ultimately, transcends. Yes, Holkins and Krahulik must be given their due: They opened the floodgates and let people know that yes, you could joke about video games--on the Internet, no less. And let's be honest: by and large, that's where gaming comics have stopped. Oh, there have been a few that have gone a little farther (Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman springs to mind), but the genre as a whole has been largely filled with imitators and stagnators for the last ten years.
Some may make the case that Shadow and Chug have very little left to say about video games, since the genre has theoretically been exhausted since 1997. Some may assert that they don't say anything at all, recycled or no. These people, while their views are valid, miss so much of the big picture that there is a staggering irony in the fact that they own 80" plasma-screen TVs. Shadow and Chug have recognized that content is a thing of the past. In fact, form is a thing of the past as well. What is left? Simply the sheer undiluted quintessence of messagery. Powerup Comics is communication without language, meaning without symbols, and jokes without setup or punchline. That's not to say that they don't tell jokes, of course--who could forget such classic lines as "I know how you love to game!" and "Bam! Footshot!"--but they are secondary to the aesthetic revolution that is taking place in the minds of Wilson and Krydenski. Forget nihilism, solipsism, relativism, egalitarianism, utilitarianism, Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, Daoism: they are the outmoded relics of an age that forgot how to think. Shadow has brought us back into the light, and if you're not prepared to wear shades, you can just step down.
And you can take that to the bank.
Of course, no review of Powerup Comics would be complete without a comprehensive examination of the "haters," since much ado has been made of their (frankly ludicrous) antics. Yes, it is true that there is an inordinate amount of negative commentary on their DrunkDuck page. But let's face it: DrunkDuck is the pits of the webcomic community, below even Facepunch and ComicGenesis. They adore Charby the Vampirate and Craving Control, for God's sake. In any case, their criticisms essentially amount to two things. 1.) Powerup Comics has bad writing. 2.) Powerup Comics has bad art. Both of these claims are so ludicrously wrong as to be not worth debunking, but I shall refute them nonetheless! The writing of Powerup Comics, as proved earlier, is nothing short of the only writing you'll ever need to understand the world. But the art is no less crucial in creating the post-transcendentalist nightmare we can only hope to appreciate, and to deny it would be to do an enormous disservice to Chug Krydenski. Chug's art is simultaneously minimalistic and maximalistic. What do I mean? I mean what I say.
That is the mark of any good rhetorician.
But to elaborate further, I mean only that Chug's art, while employing only the slightest morsels of "established" artistic "technique" (thus being minimalistic), manages to convey emotions the likes of which no man has ever experienced for want of capacity to cogitate so intensely. The raw sorrow displayed by Shadow in "Shadow is being an emo" is, on the one hand, only one step beyond William Wallace's tribal face paint. On the other hand, it reaches deep inside our hearts, inverts them, and deposits them, flaming, on our doorstep where we can't help but notice the trauma we have just experienced. That is the incredible mastery that Krydenski has displayed time and time again, and it is unthinkable that we can fool ourselves into believing that it is anything but the next inevitable phase in artistic hyperexpressionism.
Ladies and gentleman, it is no exaggeration when I say that Powerup Comics subsumes and supersedes every previous artistic movement. When it goes, civilization goes with it.