DPS Only is published by Tapas, with writing and art by Velinxi. In the story, Vicky Tan is a shy and quiet young woman, often feeling dwarfed in the shadow of her famous pro esports older brother Virgil. But whenever she gets the chance, she sheds her trepidation by taking on her online persona, Aegis, and indulging in her video game passion. If only she didn’t have to hide the fact that she’s a girl…
As someone who keeps up with gaming culture in general, the struggle of women striving to gain acceptance is nothing new unfortunately. Toxic players, harsh judgements, and entirely different expectations based on gender are some of the issues women seeking acceptance in online gaming have to deal with. DPS Only touches this in its initial three episode release in a grounded, realistic manner.
As Velinxi introduces main protagonist Vicky, I couldn’t help but feel instantly sympathetic. Wanting to just be allowed to participate like everyone else is not an unreasonable request. And as someone who can struggle with making my voice heard when confronted with aggressive personalities I really resonated with Vicky. Velinxi captures Vicky’s personality so well is no surprise though, since her other ongoing work Countdown to Countdown also focuses on a kindhearted protagonist that just wants acceptance.
While Velinxi does a wonderful job to flesh out Vicky’s personality her’s isn’t the only experience highlighted in DPS Only‘s inaugural release. In the third part of this story readers are introduced to Opal. Unlike Vicky, Opal rises to the criticism and harshness of those in her community looking to put her, and other female gamers down. She is someone who’s approach to their mutually shared struggle is completely different than Vicky’s. Even though Vicky envies Opal strength of character, I like that Velinxi never goes so far as to invalidate the way Vicky needs to approach the situation. She is not Opal, and that’s okay.
The art in DPS Only continues the exceptional work I have always known Velinxi to produce. The character designs enhance each personality within the story well. Velinxi has an exceptional gift for creating a feeling of comfort with her characters. They are who they, and they know it. This feeling of familiarity with themselves gives them an added sense of authenticity. Like they were here long before the story began.
The art also never shies away from placing the reader right in the middle of the story. Close ups, and off-angled shots are used to great effect. Moments of tension are enhanced greatly by the excellent choice of framing that goes on here. The coloring effort in DPS Only also adds to the books charm. Filled with color choices that help push the tone of story within every panel. The intro sequence to this book in particular exemplifies Velinxi’s excellent mastery of color and light.
Lastly, Velinxi’s line work continues to be a striking hallmark of her artistic style. While I cannot find the precise words to describe why I love it, it does something that gives her art the ability to stand out. Perhaps it is simply that it is different. It creates a feeling that instantly marks an image as her’s. Whatever it does, I love it.
When all is said and done DPS Only is off to an amazing start. It introduces readers to an instantly likable, and sympathetic protagonist who just wants to be able to enjoy her passion without judgement or criticsm. The sense of isolation around the character is particularly poignant with time being what they are. I cannot wait to see what Velinxi has in store for readers as she continues to unveil the world of DPS Only to us.
DPS Only can be read exclusively on Tapas for free here.
When all is said and done DPS Only is off to an amazing start. It introduces readers to an instantly likable, and sympathetic protagonist who just wants to be able to enjoy her passion without judgement or criticsm.