By Thea Srinivasan
Whenever I think about evolution, I tend to wonder whether something has to die entirely in order for something new to prosper. Sometimes evolution allows for something old and rundown to exist, but how long can nature allow itself to remain with something useless? That’s a question I’m trying to figure out with this particular comic. Bear in mind, this comic contains graphic violence and nudity and should not be read by anyone under the age of 13. This is the only warning I will give.
Esther-The Relique takes place in a dystopian future where humanity has died out, and all that is left are various robots with processors that allow them to function with human behaviors and emotions. Unlike other sci-fi comics, these robots are instinctually similar to humans with their need for energy, survival against predators, and desire to pass on their knowledge and “genetics” to the next generation. An army of robots have found a beacon of energy and have tracked its origin to a specific location. The army must go on a journey to find this energy beacon and along the way face obstacles that lead them to their deaths.
I really like the post-apocalyptic world the creators set up. Much of their inspiration probably came from other armies like the Celtics, Vikings, etc. Some people may not like the gruesome, ancient European feel of war that tends to appear in several fantasy stories, but I like the added touch. To me, it gives acknowledgment to our past and it brings about the old saying regarding the repetition of history. Considering the amount of humanity the robots show, they tend to use strong elements of humanity while incorporating evolved traditions that most likely came after the death of humans. There are certain mechanics within the robots I don’t understand. For example, I don’t understand why their “eyes” or viewing monitors glow an orange hue. I also don’t understand how humans would have created robots that were similar to those found in steampunk tales. Regardless of everything, I love the world and just want to learn more about the past and the present.
As for the actual characters, there isn’t a lot that can be said about them as the comic was an introduction. But that didn’t matter as I was more intrigued about the challenges the army faced rather than the actual characters. The dramatic, internal dialogue the protagonist provided wasn’t really necessary and it might have been better just to hear the cautious thoughts of the second-in-command instead. But my favorite element throughout this entire series is the usage of the Chimera, a species that once had viable programming but was corrupted and made them turn to cannibalism for survival. I wanted to know why their existence came about and I keep wondering if the creators will actually discuss their usage later on. The creators could have droned on about the aching struggles the army faced, but they were smart enough to condense the agony into 8 pages. This particular aspect made me want to read the series more and find out more about the ancient society these people once lived through.
Finally, the art style is beautifully drawn with pristine colors, attention to background and character details and usage of lighting to create an epic, fantasy world that makes me mourn for the loss of the vibrant humanity the characters suffered through. The creators must have known they were going to make an epic sci-fi/ fantasy story and had to decide whether to go big or go home. The group certainly went bigger and bigger with every page.
Overall, this comic left me on a cliffhanger with its ability to pull out new tricks. After reading this comic, I will be begging my boss to let me do a second review for this series. My only wish and concern is that the creators will this world into a chaotic Celtic feel. I can only hope the creators balance out the advanced technology with a realistic reminder that the characters are robots programmed through binary code.
Esther: The Relique #1
Self-Published and Free to Read