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GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE! 

Please RATE THIS COMIC and share your thoughts with us. Thanks!
5 STAR ***** 57%  57%  [ 4 ]
4 STAR **** 14%  14%  [ 1 ]
3 STAR *** 14%  14%  [ 1 ]
2 STAR ** 14%  14%  [ 1 ]
1 STAR * 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 7

GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE! 
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Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:41 am
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Post Re: GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE!
Hey Naj,

Given how focal I've been in the runup I realize I lacked any form of feedback on Group x 4.
Sorry for that. Thing is... I really don't know what to make of my feelings on it.

For some reason it just didn't fully click with me. Episodes 1 and 3 in particular just clicked for lack of a better word.
The thing that annoys me though is that I don't know why. The sex is good. Non-sex story wise I think it's actually the most complete of the four.
That characters remain consistent and their actions are perfectly in line with that.

But some how the erotic tension the others managed to invoke is just not there for me... maybe it's because I gravitate towards escalating tension and any resolution puts a damper on that (though i really really appreciate the not snuff option you chose)

I am happy to hear you are working on another series in this universe and I am looking forward to reading it once it's done.

Cheers


Thu Apr 28, 2022 1:00 pm
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Post Re: GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE!
You're fine. I'm just grateful that my stories evoke the kind of response and conversation that they do. You have a life, and I get that.

It's hard to say why you felt the way you did, and ultimately you are the only one that can find an answer to that. If you do, I'd be interested in hearing it, but what you're describing does sound plausible. As far as a story and emotional climax, GX4 does follow fairly standard tropes, but I think you may have a point that it does seem like a complete dismantling of the organization even if that's clearly not the case. What happened to Lance does drain a lot of the emotional stakes that might have existed; it's kind of hard to come back from that.

Possibly just the differences between a vanilla audience and a bondage audience, perhaps. Who's to say.

I can't tell you how hard it was not to spill the beans and say that it was going to be a "happy" ending while you asked me not to snuff anybody. So now that you've finally read it, it's a bit of a load off my shoulders that you enjoyed it intellectually if not emotionally.

People like what they like. It is what it is.

As a bit of an update, it does seem like I'll be working with Celestin for at least a little bit if not in the immediate sense as Celestin has been working on other projects recently, and, for what it's worth, I still don't consider Vicky and Emily's story over. Maybe someday we'll return and see what happens to them... and whether they've truly escaped from Group X's clutches or not. Stay tuned!


Thu Apr 28, 2022 8:02 pm
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Post Re: GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE!
https://youtu.be/zmiAGLgmSh0

Jump to minute 10
Chyou is a real person :lol:


Tue Jun 21, 2022 7:12 pm
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Post Re: GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE!
Hey. Naj. Are you one of the writers for Dofantasy? I’ve Ben looking for writers like you to work with on a custom story. Do you by any chance do commission work?


Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:38 am
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Post Re: GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE!
Currently I don't do commission work, but thank you for your interest!


Tue Aug 16, 2022 4:15 am
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Post Re: GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE!
I was re-reading this thread, and full credit for the cover goes to Celestin. That cover was created with no direction or planning on my part, and I think Celestin did a great job there. Same with GX4: I think Celestin has a really good sense for the dramatic, so I just kind of trust him to do his best there, and he always delivers.


Mon Sep 05, 2022 7:15 am
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Post Re: GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE!
So I'd been thinking about the response to GX4 for a while now, and I think I have an idea. I am curious to hear from the rest of the fanbase about it.

**spoiler alert. You've been warned.





I think ultimately the reason it doesn't quite hit that mark is that, for better or for worse, Lance not being part of the picture anymore does deflate a lot of the inherent tension. While it's obvious that Mistress X is the leader of the organization, so far Mistress X has not shown anywhere near the raw emotional reaction that Lance can create, so that leads to a bit of a dramatic vacuum that just kind of escaped out at the end of the comic.

Mistress X just doesn't evoke the same raw, emotional response that Lance or Chyou do because we don't know anything about her. We know a handful of things based on her interactions with characters, and we know she's clever enough to engineer the ending of GX4, but that's kind of about it. If anything, what we do know kind of undercuts her capacity as a villain because her words in GX1 to Emily turned out to ultimately not be accurate, and she's shown to have some limitations at controlling her subordinates. Also while not intended, her back-and-forth nature with Chyou also kind of undercuts any sense of decisiveness.

So I think it's just... there's no Lance now, so the biggest known threat to any protagonist has been removed. While there is a lot of potential in the rest of the cast, we as readers just haven't seen any of it, so it's all based on intellectual possibility which... isn't the same thing as raw, emotional response.


Sun Sep 25, 2022 5:55 pm
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Post Re: GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE!
Hey Naj,

Reflecting on your words I think there is a lot of truth in the theory that there was a loss with the removal of the biggest “real”villain.

But I think, for me at least, it might not be Lance but the lack of a true mastermind all along. Like pulling back the curtains and finding there was nothing there.

Let me elaborate. In the first number the two victims aren’t just kidnapped or even just tied up and r@ped. Instead they are forced into an elaborate uniform and then almost ritually used. It feels extra terrifying because such behavior implies familiarity and underlying purpose. These aren’t some brain dead brutes this is an oiled machine with ulterior motives to these actions and just resisting the kidnap is already insufficient.

In this “reading” Lance is just a brute who’s abiding to the organizations rules out of fear of losing what he has. MIstress X, in demeanor and actions, feels at least a lot closer to the rescission making.

Similarly the goose chase, unearthing, reveal of misdirection and finally incarceration story gives a sense of the heroine’s fighting someone that is always one step ahead. The storyline in prison with being shipped off, being rescued only to then be double crossed in episode 3 or the whole app game in episode 2 have a similar energy.

The feeling, the overarching predicament, was one of a draw out process where both heroines are slowly sinking deeper and deeper. It’s the vibe that really worked for me.

Where the cracks started to appear I think was in MistressX her interactions with Emily in episode 2.
In a way her interactions with Em are “superficial”, sure she uses her for gratification but it does little to advance the “sinking”. She never really interacts with either of them again. That, in hindsight and after reading your commentary, makes Mistress X feel more like a participant than the type of mastermind that could orchestrate all these events. Lance in a way is more true to form. You aren’t expecting much from him but barely restrained brute force. When that restraint leaves you expect something with the crudeness of a circular blade.

If MIstress X had shot Lance and then played with the girls herself that would have given her space to show, through action, that she was indeed the type of mastermind that has uniforms with specific purposes.

This might all sound harsh and I don’t intend it that way. It’s an honest reflection that does not take away from the fact that I cherish this series.
In fact looking at it from this perspective there might still be a mastermind move and thus story.

Why were Emily and Victoria kidnapped and not just murdered.
Why the elaborate uniforms? Why the attempt at blackmail and humiliation.
Why show the cards and reveal that the police force was corrupt

Rough ideas
Was this perhaps a way to get Emily, with her brilliant financial and legal mind, on board with the organization?
Was this a way to get Victoria to see that her talents for investigation and getting into peoples mind make her much better suited as a slave trainer. She does mention getting excited at various times as well
Was this a way to brainwash ‘Em so she wants to take revenge on Victoria thus reming the last hope she has and completing the masterminds revenge. (That dark side that was also alluded on in chapter 1)


Finally a sort of related remark around pacing. In the first book three pages are dedicated to the transformation into schoolgirl/uniform (32 to 34) after that 4 pages are basically a sex scene with the last 3 panels advancing the “sinking”. In the third book the donning of the outfits, waiting shipping , rescue and betrayal take a page and a half. In the last book the breakneck speed between freedom and capture (a page and a half) threw me off even more.

Maybe it’s because I’m weird but I think that drawing these scenes out a bit more to savor the tension would help make the subsequent scenes feel more substantial.

Anyway this is a fairly rough brain dump inspired by your reflection , curious to hear your take on this


Fri Sep 30, 2022 1:13 pm
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Post Re: GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE!
Well said qq2

My take away from this comic is that it's called Group X not Mistress X. It's bigger than just one character. I still quite like Mistress X as a character. She isn't even in part 3 of the comics but her terror and presence are felt the entire time much like Dracula who disappears for more then 100 pages in the novel of the same name. If we need a hulking brute GX should be able to easily replace them. I always kinda thought the main tension of the comic was going to be GXs corruption of one of if not both of our main characters. Victoria likes being dominated maybe she wants to be part of GX even if it means becoming a slave to someone else's design or Emily. We don't ever hear her internal monologues maybe she wants to be a slave trainer, maybe her first slave she breaks for the Group is Victoria. I do love lovers betrayed. Then Victoria gets sold off to parts unknown or Mistress X keeps her as her own personal slave to keep Emily in check. Conflict can come from many places.

Side note
More latex outfits and gimp hoods
They were criminally under used.


Fri Sep 30, 2022 10:03 pm
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Post Re: GROUP X 4 by CELESTIN & NAJ, IS HERE!
qq2:

Hmm, well I think I should definitely take the pacing into consideration in the future. Looking back, it seems like a lot of people felt it was rushed, which I can see. Maybe the pacing is what made it not work as well since it was kind of a headlong crash to the finish; 40 pages only allows so much, and maybe having more time for the various villains at Myanmar to play with their new toys might have made it work better. Oh well. Gotta learn somehow.

And I didn't take it as harsh at all.

What I can say without spoiling anything is that there is a reason that things unfolded the way they did. It might become more clear since I have two comic ideas that feature Group X and Mistress X, one of which inking was done by Celestin and should be in the coloring stages right about now. All of your "whys" have answers, but since I'm increasingly of the opinion that we should revisit the Emily/Victoria/Mistress X triangle, I don't think explaining them here would offer much narrative satisfaction. After all, I'm fairly certain that neither Emily nor Victoria (nor Lydia) are out of the woods nor have necessarily escaped Group X's grasp quite yet.

surrenderdorathy:
You are correct in that Mistress X is not the main antagonist of this series; it's Lance who served his job well. As far as your "side note" I agree, and I might start adding more of both in the future.


Mistress X will appear again fairly soon, though not as a primary antagonist; she's largely in the denouement having a dialogue with one of her subordinates and doesn't play any narrative role in the story at all. The secondary story... needs a bit more time to cook because Mistress X plays a major role there... but the other participant hasn't quite had time to get to the point where the story is needed to quite the scale I'm envisioning. Thinking between the one in production and the one in the future, I can think of a good bridge that would satisfy both needs.

I love the speculation and the ideas; all I will say is that while I don't reject any of the ideas out of hand, I don't think anyone has a good guess yet as to what may or may not happen.

If the concern was lack of a mastermind, well there is one, but I don't think they're quite playing the game you may be thinking. The next comic will reveal more. Still, the pacing, tension building, and lack of communication is my fault as an author, and I'll see what I can do moving forward. I think revisiting diving deeper into the Group X organization and revisiting Victoria/Emily and Mistress X's plans for them, as dimly envisioned as they are right now, may need a bit more love and attention than they currently have.

Edit: one thing I remembered that I deliberately did, and I'm both pleased and mildly annoyed about that no one noticed (or at least didn't say so) is that... does Victoria know that Mistress X even exists? :?:


Sat Oct 01, 2022 1:54 am
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