I felt really duped while reading the premiere issue of String Divers. On reading the brief summary earlier this week, I thought I was in for some Grant Morrisonesque explorations of obscure metaphysics and social deconstruction (a niche genre I’ve been lacking in my weekly reads). Instead what I got was something more akin to the after-school cartoon equivalent, complete with color-coordinated characters and awkward character dynamics. String Divers feels squarely like popular science with a teen demographic in mind. The comic starts off with the eponymous tea, simply named whatever color they’re painted in order to divide them according to skill class, encountering a swarm of techno-organic beings inside of a subatomic string. In exploring some odeas particle physics, the book hopes to ride the Cosmos train to originality. Unfortunately even after losing one of their own, and experiencing a tear in the string, I still had yet to feel any amount of empathy towards the silver-faced androids. In the second half, we meet the team behind the String Divers who work under Cern in Switzerland, including an affectionate brother and sister, a disproportionately buff short man with heaps of sympathy, and a woman who seems to be gunning for the cold-hearted asshole category. After analyzing the String Divers and replacing their lost comrade, the Cern team worries that the tear in the string will have costly effects, the last few pages devoted to the price of their experiment.
I find String Divers’ cheesiness endearing even as each android class displays archetypal personalities carbon copied from other better-known teams. Without intending to, I found myself smiling at Blue’s arrogant attempts to punch his unrelenting enemies into submission despite its limited effect. The actual humans themselves though come off just as basic as their creations, each character embodying a single quality during their entire stay.
The mystery about who attacked the String Divers doesn’t intrigue me since there’s not much reason to care about the actual Divers being hurt due their replaceable nature. The wider repercussions of the attack on the string are of slightly more concern, but even there we’re not given a greater reason to care about the effected people in the end other than we ought to innately care about other humans. String Divers might interest others willing to try out new team books. It offers up a pretty bright story about an avenue of science not thoroughly explored in popular culture. If the characters can get a little more complex in future issues, this could definitely join the class of fellow sci-fi romps.
String Divers #1 Art Director: Ashley Wood Storytellers: Chris Ryall and Nelson Daniel Letterer: Neil Uyetake Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/12/15 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital