By Dustin Cabeal
It took me a while to remember this series. I had to read my own review to remember what it was about and when I did… oh boy, did I question if I had actually picked this book for review. When I did remember the first volume, I took a look at the thickness of volume two and released a heavy sigh. It is almost twice the length of the first volume. I thought, “Maybe this will help the story,” but deep down, I knew it was unlikely.
Once again, the biggest problem with Wires and Nerve is that it not only wants you to remember the first volume in its entirety, but also to have read and remembered every detail of The Lunar Chronicles, but it expects you to do this. There is constant references to events that have occurred in the past to the point that if you weren’t already keeping track, you’d find yourself passively forgetting it. That also means that there is a massive amount of exposition in the story because everyone is like, “But don’t you remember this event and that stuff that happened?” Or the worse offender when they talk about a character that’s not present and everyone takes a turn listing their amazing feats and qualities. None of it is shown, and when there is finally some action, it’s so mundane that you wonder if anyone is capable of amazing feats or if it’s just friends talking each other up.
I’m going to say something, it’s going to come off mean, and I can’t help that because it is the best way to describe it. There is a pathetic attempt at making social commentary about androids and A.I. and if they’re “human.” It’s pathetic because it’s the shallowest conversation on the subject and results are basically, “well if they have a good heart and a hot bod, then they’re okay.” It was eye-rollingly bad, and instead of introducing what’s likely to be a hot button topic of the future to children, it basically says, well if you love that robot go for it. Not that I’m like, “You can’t love that robot!” But the actual conversation is complex and can’t be boiled down in this review nor could the creators find a way to cover it in 324 pages… they probably could have, but they didn’t.
Again, there isn’t much action in this volume at all. The finale is about all there is which doesn’t even eat up that many pages. That means the bulk of the 324 pages are spent talking… and talking and then finding some more time to talk. Everyone walks around talking, and no one has anything else to do yet through their constant conversations we know that we’re dealing with extremely busy people. Through all this gabbing it became apparent to me that no one had a unique voice. One character had a gimmick to the way she speaks, but even then she sounded exactly like all the other characters. It didn’t matter if they were women or men, they all talked the same with one voice, the voice of the author. There was little in the way of real emotion presented, no matter how forced it was at times. It made for a grueling read in that if you didn’t follow the word balloons, to which there are many, you could honestly forget who was talking. I tested this by not acknowledging the art for several pages and then going back and seeing if I had the correct characters for the dialogue, but again, it didn’t matter because after those few pages it seemed like one character talking the entire time. It’s also unpleasantly average in that there’s no depth to the conversations. It all comes across like superficial high school conversations.
The art is fine. It doesn’t have to do anything other than place ahead on the page. The action is choppy and has no flow. The settings are bare for the most part, and even if they weren’t, they’d be covered by word balloons. The blue hue looks nice but doesn’t do anything for the story. It’s essentially a black and white story. The blue isn’t used effectively for shadows or even to make it stylized in a different way. Its just washed with blue for some “futuristic vibe” that never rings true. That would need to stem from the story first, and it doesn’t. I art was easy to forget because it has zero personality, but that’s not it’s fault, the story has one very boring personality, and so the art works with what it has, which is next to nothing.
If there is a third volume of Wires and Nerve, I will never know. It seems like this story was meant to be two volumes, but they dumped it all together to get it over with. It can’t be read on its own, new readers should actively avoid it, and it doesn’t even need to be a graphic novel since it doesn’t show you anything. If I wanted to see talking heads I could watch the news or reality TV, I read graphic novels for the story and art working together showing movement and conveying the message not just through the dialogue, but through the artwork. That’s not the case here as someone didn’t fundamentally understand the medium they were using and treated it like a novel with faces. If that sounds fun to you, then have at it, but it was a draining experience reading this 324-page “book” and even more draining to compile my thoughts on it. Usually, I would never simplify a review this way, but for this one, I will make an exception and say it as plainly as I can, it’s bad.
Wire and Nerve vol. 2 – Gone Rogue
First Second Books