Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lost in the stacks. (Reset)

I love comic books. I've been collecting for roughly the last decade. However, I'm not drawn toward traditional titles. Somehow, I gravitate toward limited-run titles. These comics, more often than not, fall through the cracks and are forgotten, lost to time. This column aims to shine a light on these titles and, hopefully, make them some new fans...or draw out the old ones.

I'm sure that, every so often, we wonder how our lives would've turned out if we handled a particular situation a little differently. "What if I stayed in this city a little longer?". "What if I kissed that girl?". "What if I took that job?". I could go on for an untold number of paragraphs about what I'd do, but thankfully, this story isn't about me.

Once upon a time, Guy Krause was on top of the world as a fairly successful stand-up comic and actor. Nowadays, if you look up 'bitter' in the dictionary, you'll likely find his picture, professional and personal setbacks leaving him a deeply cynical shell. One day, he's approached by researcher Angela Minor, who offers him an unusual opportunity: taking part in a virtual reality experiment. Highly skeptical, but in dire need of capital, Guy agrees, but can he handle what awaits him?

Much like the new movie Looper, "Reset" starts marvelously, immersing us in an unusual but fascinating premise (with time travel figuring in heavily) and forcing us to ask ourselves, 'What if it were me in this scenario?', and there are some fun moments as Guy's prickly (in more ways than one) personality conflicts with the professional attitudes of Angela and her assistant Ted. Also good are the scenes of teenaged Guy trying to alter the course of his life via the machine.

However, the comic's ultimate failing, as far as I'm concerned, can be summed up in two words: 'conspiracy bullshit'. As it turns out, Angie has been contracted by the government that desires to use the machine for - dun-dun-dunnnn! - sinister purposes. And these are...what? What are the purposes? Why is Guy so important to the testing of the machine? Moreover, are we really supposed to care?

Unlike Looper, which moved away from the intriguing premise, only to die on its feet, the non-premise scenes in the later issues end up pretty entertaining. The experiment encourages Guy to look up classmate Gail Malone and their scenes together are some of the best of the book.

One of the more interesting aspects is the fact that the series is in black in white. Though owing more than a little to R. Crumb, Peter Bagge's artwork is striking. (And with the language and moments of frontal nudity...and all that that implies, "Reset" feels quite Crumb-like in its execution.)

If you find the premise intriguing or if you have an affinity for black-and-white comics, you might enjoy "Reset". Not the smoothest of rides, but still entertaining.

Grade: B

Availability: Pressed by Dark Horse Comics, it should still be available from most outlets.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home