|*Sigh*... This comic wasn't intended for me. I'm too old to enjoy it.
Freefall is a comic about an idiotic alien criminal named Sam Starfall (A main character with a short everyman's first name and a majestic, aerospace-themed last name? Where have I heard that before?), his cute, naive and bouncy robot sidekick named Helix (A biological name for a robot?) and A Bowman's Wolf named Florence that provides some competance to the whole group. Together they do... not much.
The three main characters have personalities that are developed well enough, but not DEFINED well enough for me. Sam is portrayed as both an idiot and a master criminal, yet somehow he has managed to not get killed or put in jail. Think of an amalgam between 8-bit's Fighter and Thief. They're polar opposites, so how can you have a mix of them? Florence is smart and clever, but seems to be constantly comfortable and optimistic around an idiot criminal alien. Helix's personality is the most constant, and it seems to change only depending on who he's hanging around, but that's understandable, as he seems to be just very impressionable, and the personality of whoever's interacting with him rubs off on him.
Aside from not being well-defined, the characters also have personalities that grate on me from time to time. Sam falls way too often in the idiot or criminal cliches, so I often can predict the outcome of a certain situation will be Sam saying or doing something criminal or illegal. Situations involving Helix most often rely on his cuteness, and excessive cuteness just gets on my nerves. Hearing him say "DOGGY!" in front of Florence got old very, very quickly. Florence has the most interesting character of the bunch, but many times she decides to teach a long-winded lesson on science, history or ethics. It's jarring, annoying and more than a tad patronizing, as it's fairly obvious the author is using a character as a mouthpiece to talk directly to the reader. Then again, this is intended for kids, so maybe it's supposed to be like those public service messages at the end of those old Saturday morning cartoons.
The best term I can think of for the art is 'bare-bones.' Character designs are simple. Facial expressions and body poses are limited. Humans don't have a lot of variety among them. Many characters often have their arms behind their back, which I suspect is easier than drawing arms. Backgrounds are barely there, and really simple to boot, giving no sense of ambience. It's mostly black and white, with one of three shades of grey thrown in every once in a while. Not eye-catching at all.
As for the story, well, I don't see any sense of direction this comic is taking. It takes painfully long for anything to get done in the story, as the author seems to take every opportunity possible to point out the same old fallacies in whatever character's being featured. That would be okay if more than one in a hundred of the jokes were funny. Most of them are pointing out that Sam is stupid or a criminal, or on how gosh-darn CUTE Helix is, or how Florence is a canine, so she does things like a dog. Most of the rest of the jokes are weak jabs at politics and other well-worn targets of ridicule, and they don't age well at all. The punchlines themselves are also too wordy to have any punch in them. This is another comic that can learn to cut out some of its dialogue for greater effect.
If a comic doesn't make me laugh, I'd prefer it goes somewhere. If it doesn't go anywhere, it better make me laugh hard. Freefall does niether. Besides, both of those elements stem from conflict, and the story is mostly about the characters goofing off, talking about the same old stuff and generally doing nothing of great consequence. There's hardly any conflict here, generating very little humor or progression. It's exactly like most newspaper comics. Maybe being kid-friendly has that side-effect, as most real conflicts are not something kids are used to.
Oh great, there's a shout-out section. I never really enjoyed cameos in webcomics, but I cringe at ones as blatant as this. They're mostly of other lowbrow, kid-friendly comics that are likely from the same web-group, but one interested me. Aside from wanting to shout "NERD!!" like some 80's college frat boy throughout the whole thing, something else bugged me a lot. Somehow, Bruno was mentioned, but not linked, due to possible mature situations. What, is the author afraid of some angry mommies discovering their kids are reading about real human conflict and emotions instead of canned reactions and 'wacky' situations? Or is it because Bruno shows her boobies in one strip? It's really weird because it also links to Sabrina Online, which features a pantsless female skunk and has some pretty explicit sexual references. I guess it's the first one.
I stopped reading at about comic #600. I got the picture by then. I wouldn't mind glancing over this in my daily newspaper and giving the occasional smirk, but I wouldn't go out of my way to see it on the internet. I'm 21, after all.