2 out of 5
Hm, well, this if the first comic to make me feel old, like I don’t know how to read comics. It bandies about its hip gaming slang and co-opts a “we’re on our phonez all the time and we rule” sassitude, and hops, skips, and jumps through a massive plot that maybe isn’t so much as massive as just doesn’t make much sense. Six issues should be enough for this, but it’s not: writer / artist Jason Brubaker and co-creator / co-writer Rick Rekedal start up some intriguing ideas and then don’t resolve them or explore them before jumping to another; Brubaker’s usually immediately identifiable and emotive figures are lost amidst looser stuff that’s meant to capture the flexibility of the mobile gaming worlds our characters are exploring but, as with the writing, feel like just shuffling through ideas.
In Brubaker’s reMind and Sithrah, he’d definitely struggled with balancing world-building with storytelling and pacing, but the larger storybook format of those tales provided for some brilliant highlights. Here, either due to Rekedal’s co-piloting, or due to sticking to a more “traditional” comic book format, it’s just a mess, which is unfortunate given that the spin on “play the video game to save the world” that lead character Tripp experiences within the game Drift is actually worthwhile, as actions in the game drastically alter reality in exciting ways… until the next issue ditches going with that thread and heads off in another direction, forgoing consistency that would help build momentum or allow for some character work.
The colors are pretty; Simon Bowland’s letters class it up. And, again, I initially rolled my eyes at the video game shtick because it’s been used before, but then it found some new ways to poke at it. The casual way Brubaker and Rekedal jump through a lot of high concepts doesn’t give them much weight, but then again, maybe I’m just getting old and can no longer keep up.