Review: Bottom of the Ninth

Review: Bottom of the Ninth

Ryan Woodward's animated graphic novel Bottom of the Ninth is out on the iPad. It's a 10-app series and the first issue is $3.99.

I bought it. Read it. Minutes after flipping past the last page, my mind is still buzzing at how incredible it is.

The story is set in the future, in Tao City where people are into New Baseball. It's sci-fi and sports mixed. The stadium stretches into the sky. The main heroine is 18-year-old Candy Cunningham who's a baseball player with amazing athletic ability. She's the daughter of Gordy Cunningham, an aged major league player on the declining career. The story is about how she copes with the game, deals with her fame and identity issues.

Bottom of the Ninth is presented like a graphic novel, with pages but with animation embedded into some of the panels. The animation is frame by frame and is some of the most fluid I've ever seen. In several scenes, you'll notice that the city is modeled in 3D. As the camera pans around, you can feel the city coming alive. Buses that roam around the city even have reflections that move on their glass.

The sound effects are commendable. The background music is nice and appropriate. The word bubbles all speak when you tap on them. Each character is voiced by a different person. The voice acting is good. In particular, the voice actor for Candy Cunningham is excellent. As Candy is psyching herself up before the throw, you can her the quiver in her voice and sense the big game jitters.

I like how the voice-over is implemented. You can choose to read the comic with just the word bubbles alone, or you can choose to slow down and listen to all the dialogue. The voice-over contains more dialogue than shown in the confines of those word bubbles.

The art is beautiful and detailed. The 2D hand drawn animation blends so perfectly into the 3D environment it's jaw-dropping just looking at them. Those animated panels really make me want to dive into them and explore the city more.

There's a cinematic feel that comes from the masterful composition and pacing. Ryan Woodward has worked as a storyboard artist or animatic artist on films such as The Avengers, Iron Man, Spider-man, etc, and that experience shows.

There are only 16 pages in the first issue. The story is quite short but you should know that it takes a lot of work to create animation. This is top notch animation I must emphasis, not motion graphics.

The app performs well enough but on my second read, the page flipping function doesn't work anymore, although the page navigator is fine. A restart for the iPad fixes the issue.

Overall, it's a truly an enjoyable read, and definitely one of the more memorable comics I've read.

Highly recommended to all even if you're not a comic reader. Just buy it and see what's possible with the future comics.

5 out of 5 stars.

You can buy it at

Review: Bottom of the Ninth
This is the stadium that stretches to the sky.

Review: Bottom of the Ninth
Some of the animated spoof ads.


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