When I started reading this issue it came off like future babble. Technology has taken over the future and made some people’s lives better and other’s worse. It honestly didn’t interest me at first because it’s an opening I’ve read before in a different shade. The story continues though and manages to pull out some surprises which is the best argument for always finishing the issue. We meet Ryan who is a freelance programmer and we’re given a quick look into his life. His girlfriend has left him, he can’t afford his apartment in a decent neighborhood now and he’s stopped taking his medication because he feels as if it’s numbing him. He’s also has an addiction to Immersion 3D art which is basically a 3D world that you jack into and fly over. In the second chapter we meet Raman who at a very young age is accepted into Princeton and begins to have a productive career. At a protest about DNA usage, Ryan meets Raman.
We bounce back to Ryan who is now living in a shitty neighborhood and while trying to relax and take a hot bath is plagued by the noise outside his window. He yells at the clubbers who promptly tell him to kill himself and so he attempts it. He grabs a neon light from outside his window and drags it back into the bath with him… but nothing happens. He discovers that there was a major power outage that saved his life. He meets with Raman and tells him about it and Raman tells him that other versions of himself weren’t so lucky and to get back on his medication. This gets Ryan thinking and he basically comes up with a machine that kills off the versions of him that go against the programing of an event that he’s picked. It basically kills outcomes of his future to get the outcome he wants or at least that’s how I took it. It could also be that he’s rolling the dice and could have died as well. It’s an interesting idea and where the story ends is a great place.
The writing is decent. It struggles in places and is awkward in others. I don’t know why the story focuses on Raman’s origin so much when so much time is spent with Ryan, but that will probably feed into the future issues. The concept is interesting. The explaining of the concept is okay. I understood very quickly what was going on being familiar with the different elements that were being weaved together, but I appreciate the thoroughness of the writer to make sure the entire audience understood.
There are weird bits of dialogue like when Ryan buys the equipment for his machine and the store owners wonder out loud about what he’s making. That’s like the cashier at the grocery store wondering what you’re having for dinner, they don’t care because they check out people all day and I doubt someone selling tech parts really cares what people do with them when that’s all they do is sell parts. It’s not like it ruined the story, but it wasn’t needed and broke me out of the immersion of the story.
The art is also has its ups and downs. For the most part it’s good and fits the plot. The flashback scenes didn’t come across as sharp as the rest of the story nor did the 3D immersion. The only real problem with the art is that it doesn’t tell the story on its own. It needs the narrative to let you know what’s going on because the panels aren’t strong enough to do it alone. This also feeds into the pacing of the story. Ryan loses his girlfriend, apartment and quits his medication all in two pages. The pacing and art are rapid fire at times, but if slowed down they could be a stronger aspect of the storytelling. It’s a good foundation, but there’s room for improvement.
I think this is a story you need to read to the end. The opening didn’t interest me, but something about it kept me reading right along. I never took a break to decide if I should keep going, I just kept going. I enjoyed the story and while I’m sure it continues from this point forward, this issue does a great job of telling a story that stands alone. The ending of the issue may not answer all your questions, but in a way it answers the ones that need to be answered. I just hope it doesn’t get muddled from here. It’s an interesting issue that broke the mold so check it out for yourself.