The world as we know it is getting ever closer to being 100% online. Virtual reality allows us to experience video games in a more realistic way, we’re already interacting on the internet more than in real life, and living an alternate life online is incredibly common. It’s why so many stories like Self/Made are less fantasy and more of a foreshadowing of things to come.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Introducing a new creative team everyone will be talking about–superstar talent writer MAT GROOM and artist EDUARDO FERIGATO. When chaos besieges the kingdom of Arcadia, warrior Amala Citlali sees it as her chance to escape her clearly-defined role–and to change her destiny. But she could never have predicted that it would also be her chance to confront her God. In his debut editorial role, comics veteran KYLE HIGGINS guides this intimate, worlds-spanning story of self-discovery.
Why does this matter?
Do you like fantasy and sci-fi? How about a gut-punching twist in your storytelling? What about Westworld interested in that? If any of these things are of interest to you read this book.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a tricky series to review since the first 18 pages are all a bait and switch. Just saying that is going to spoil things for readers, but it’s impossible to talk about the main conceit of the series without giving some of it away. The book opens in a fantasy world where a wizard of sorts wants to end everything. The main character is a soldier who doesn’t agree with the tactics of war but fights anyway. Enter the prince who is a pompous egomaniac who thinks he knows better. It’s not until midway through that things get weird. The prince and other characters are killed. The story then restarts things before their death and the story carries on. This all leads to a logical explanation, but for the life of me, I did not see it coming. That was one of the joys of reading this issue since it hid its bigger purpose.
This is a story that plays around with the idea that programs may be sentient and alive. They may appear to be code, but do they actually exist? If an A.I. thinks, is it not alive? This is a concept I’m sure this series will explore further and it is wrapped into a video game plot that is intriguing.
The art by Ferigato is very good at capturing the wide sweeping fantasy world. There is definitely some Lord of the Rings inspiration afoot. Amala is a strong character who you’ll root for in part because of how Ferigato draws her. She’s sure of herself, smart on her feet, and relatable.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The underlying premise of this story has certainly been done in other forms before. Westworld comes to mind as the closest to the plot of this story here. I don’t know if you can truly dock something for not being entirely original, but as it stands the story laid out here is done well enough, and different enough, to be its own thing.
Is it good?
A good start to a sci-fi fantasy series that is one to watch. Westworld fans are going to love this. The first issue knocks your socks off with a twist you won’t see coming.