...That being said, what I'm mainly here to talk about is something else in regards to my comic. Nothing new, per se, but all the same, I felt like rambling about Red Hood Rider today. If you're concerned about spoilers, I assure you, there's nothing really spoilerish in here.
I mean, nothing which is a spoiler to any blog reader/binger, anyway. I talk about my comic a lot. So there are things which you're technically kinda sorta not supposed to know from page one, but I'm certainly making no efforts to hide these things. Heck, looking at a cast page for your average webcomic will spoil it more than what I'll talk about will.
In short, details like the identity of a traitor? Spoilers. Not going to be in this blog post. Details like there being eight--not seven--elemental riders and that Gary/Hannah both become riders? (And one, that Amy exists, and two, that she also becomes a rider.) Technically speaking, because those are events which will transpire in the comic but which have yet to transpire, they'd be considered spoilers. But they're so minor and unimportant which I talk about so often that they really aren't spoilers at all.
So with the ground rules set, the subject I had in mind was basically that all of the elemental riders have three combat styles which can loosely translate into melee/ranged/magic in terms of type, when you really go down and get into analyzing them.
To start, all the riders use their weapons at least a little: Ruby's bow/staff, Sally's bazooka/thread, Gary's sword/shield, Hannah's staff, D.D.'s wand (and later, buster blade by any other name), Vili's dagger, Whitney's twin pistols, and Amy's bare fists.
But of them, only about half actually use those weapons extensively. And even of those who use it, it can be said that only two have it as their specialty: Ruby and Sally. Ruby and Sally both have access to secondary and tertiary abilities thanks to their statuses as elemental riders, but these abilities are rarely used, even the passive ones yet alone all the active ones. Mostly, their fighting style involves improving the tools they start with: better arrows, better rockets.
Of course, this is true of every character, especially every rider, and that means all the elemental eight riders have that, but it is most applicable to those two. Gary starts out like them, but eventually, he grows out of it to the point where he uses them more as focal points for his other attacks. Ruby and Sally also expand their repertoire, but they never rely on it unless desperate. Vili also has shades of this, because she uses her dagger in her fights a lot, but she mostly relies on something else instead.
And, of course, this makes sense. Those weapons are their spirit totems. As such, they are an innate ability of EVERY rider. The elemental eight have two other fighting styles, but the rest of the riders only have the weapon style. Because of this universal nature and how they are physical (even though the weapon itself may be magical), this is what I call "melee".
Now, "range" in this case would be the literal elemental abilities associated with the prime elemental eight: a ray of light, fireball, ice spike, darkness-infused arrow, flame sword, ice arrow, vines, rocks, lightning bolt, jet of water, electrified blade...the like. In other words, it is not only the literal manifestation of the element, but also attaching that element to objects or even making objects from that element.
The rider most skilled at this is D.D., though Hannah is a close second. Also fairly good at it is Whitney. Most of the other riders have elements of this in their fighting style: Gary uses more and more water as the series progresses, Vili will use charged energy blasts, and Amy's attacks are literally darkness manifested as light instead. But D.D. is the embodiment of fire, which can't be said of the other elemental riders. (Though, again, Hannah comes close, for air.)
That leaves the "magic": this is where the godly powers of the elemental riders come from. The things they are theoretically capable of doing from the first day, but which would most likely kill them if they did and even if they didn't are still things which must first be thought up and then carefully crafted and mastered before effective usage.
Bingers will have noted me rambling on almost every element's abilities. And that's where the magic comes in: symbolism. Exact word usage. Wordplay. Logical extensions of things. Required secondary powers. Allegory. Basically, this is everything from "lightning fast means really really fast, and lightning is of the energy element, and therefore the energy rider is really really fast" (Vili) to "shadowing someone is mirroring them, and shadows are of the darkness element, so therefore darkness users can mirror the techniques of someone else" to ice and heat being co-owners of the law of thermodynamics (specifically, being able to bend/break the rule, e.g. making a hot/cold object hotter/colder when in contact with a cooler/warmer object and vice-versa) to controlling fundamental forces of the universe like gravity and electromagnetism to "soundwaves are waves, and waves are water, so water riders can create a sonic boom" and so on and so forth.
All the riders do partake in this, but the best are Whitney and Hannah. Vili uses it for speed, but not much else, even though she theoretically could. (Her issue there is magical fatigue.) Amy is also decent at this, with her abilities. Gary starts out not using this at all, but by the end, he's second only to Whitney in his fine control.
Soyeah. That's nothing really spoilerish, but I thought it was a nice look into riders.