Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kevin McCarthy
Artist: Kyle Baker
Release Date: 23rd March 2016
Have you ever had that feeling when you’re reading something that you are so far outside of the target audience that you might as well be reading abstract shapes talking in Futurama’s “alienese” for all the impact it’s making on you?
Well, it’s either that or this book is utterly incomprehensible to everyone. This is idiosyncratic to the point where you can’t tell if it’s pastiching, satirising or taking seriously the Japanese culture which it’s clearly inspired by. If I had to take a stab in the dark, I’d guess the middle one, but when something is satirising something you’re deeply unfamiliar with, it’s hard to really ‘get’ it.
This is coupled with the fact that even if we were to accept it as something of a pisstake, it’s unclear precisely what point it’s making. That robot-controlled apocalypses are done to death? That anime has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with female robot protagonists that dangerously skirt the legal age of consent? That all of this is so very, very silly?
There’s just a too-rough veneer to the whole thing – the art is sketchy (in the literal sense of that word) at best, with some of the best stuff tucked away in surprisingly well-rendered backgrounds, whilst relatively crudes characters – that gives nods to everything from early Disney to modern anime to the fucking Animaniacs in terms of design – clutter up the foreground. There’s just no visual consistency to any of the story-telling, and the issue as a whole feels disjointed as a result. That this is the work of Kyle Baker, who’s done some truly notable stuff – both for the Big Two, and for other publishers – is all the more bewildering. It at least gives a more compelling reason to think that the whole thing is satire, but it’s difficult to truly allow that to excuse the matter.
I genuinely can’t think of anything about this book that I can recommend, and I really did try – as a glass-half-full kinda guy (snort), I’m usually pretty good at at least finding something that’s done w — oh wait, the background detail. That was quite good, wasn’t it? Phew! Dodged a bullet there.
Confusing, poorly wrought and just plain odd at the end of it all, it’s a wasted opportunity given the talents that the book brought together, and that makes it the rarest of all beasts – a misfire from Image Comics. Avoid.
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The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24