Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Comic Review: Material #1

(I tend to read every #1 issue that comes out from Image Comics. Are they all good? Well, let's find out.)

The way I'll explain this is to summarize, as far as I can tell, the storylines in this book:

1) We start with a philosophy professor, giving a lecture about how technology is destroying us, somewhere in the vein of Henry David Thoreau or Ted Kaczynski. When pushed about it by his daughter, who suggests he just go out and live in the woods, he claims that he cannot because he is addicted to porn, and she tells him that he's going to be a grandfather. While he is despairing about what kind of world this is to bring a child into, he is contacted by someone claiming to be the first self-aware artificial intelligence.

2) Then we have Nylon Dahlias, who it seems used to be an actress of some note, but is now addicted to drugs and falling off the map completely. She is approached by an auteur director to be the lead in this very ambitious movie he is making, which he insists is hers and requires her in it, but it's very unclear what any of it is, except for the fact that the director is a little bit too much of the crazy artist for his producers.
3) Then we have the protests. In case there was a chance for subtlety, there are signs reading "I can't breathe", quotes from the Michael Brown deposition, and constant name dropping. It centers on a 15 year old who was part of the protests, and him being held at an illegal detention center in Chicago after the protests.

4) Then we have the Guantanamo Bay prisoner. He has been released from there, but has been unable to adjust to civilian life after that. He's unable to really talk to anyone, to touch other people, or even play with the dog he had before e was taken. He insists that he did nothing, but was locked up there and tortured for months regardless. It ends with him trying to reach out to someone, but it's not clear who it is or why he would try to talk to her in the first place.

I understand what the last two stories have to do with each other, so at least those fit together thematically, even if their execution is aimless at best. The first two seem to have nothing to do with each other, or the rest of the stories even on a thematic level, but at least they're executed in a mostly competent manner, where I actually can kind of understand who is part of the story and what they are doing.

Maybe this is some sort of work of genius and I just don't get it, but I don't think that's the case. It feels like a passion project with too many big ideas for them to all fit together nicely, and just ends up not reading well at all. Unless I hear that this is some sort of genius later on down the line, I'm going to pass on this series. 

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