Thursday, September 17, 2015

Comic Review: Boy 1 #1

This was originally posted as a review for Word of the Nerd. Reposted here with slight modifications.
 Science fiction often exists for the sake of making fantasy stories feel more grounded. From the beginning, Boy-1 seems to be straddling that line, trying to bring fantastical things to life while actually starting in real science and moving forward. It focuses on genetic engineering, though exactly the role that it plays in the plot is not really clear quite yet.   
I'm not familiar with the artist,  but I like what I've seen so far. On a simple scale of art style, it's more towards the realistic, which I like for the tone the book is trying to get across. The designs are all fairly standard, but most things in the book are ordinary by science fiction standards; the most out there so far is an AI shown as a floating head in front of a computer. Besides that, everything else is lab equipment and scientists, so while the designs aren't all that different, there's little reason to expect them to be.
Unfortunately, the characters are not compelling, or even interesting enough for me to really have something to grab on to. The one character that I can remember for any particular trait or interaction is one of the head scientists, and his part in the story is somewhat problematic. We first see him telling off someone else for comparing a genetically engineered chimp to Caesar, saying that they're doing it a disservice by using pop culture references to explain it. He immediately turns it around by using his own, and several more throughout the course of the issue, and what would otherwise be a character trait (if a little obvious) is turned into an odd affectation. As far as the rest of the characters go, there's not enough notable about them to make an impact, even just a shred to make me feel like they will be compelling in future issues.  
The plot is not good enough to make up for the issues with the characters. Towards the end, there is a kidnapping after a character is getting a little too close to discovering sensitive information; a scene we've seen many times, but one that serves a specific purpose. However, after that scene, it turns into a blur of images that don't really connect that logically or make much sense. It's attached to narration about a more philosophical topic that thinks it's more profound than it is, and it's not clear what the connection is to what's going on at the moment. With a little more clarity, it feels like it would be the beginning to exploring an interesting idea. However, that clarity is missing, making me doubt that it would be a good exploration of what it's trying to talk about, and squanders what benefit of the doubt I was still giving it. I don't know if I'll check out any future issues; I might check back in a few months to see if it gets better, but I'm in no hurry to find out. 

If you'd like to see more, find this article and others like it at Word of the Nerd, and many thanks to them for allowing cross-posting.

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