Sunday, 10 April 2011

Do androids dream of Jersey shore: Ironborn

This is a strip ostensibly about a divergence between science & magic; but on closer inspection it's more about relationships and identity. From the get-go the strip's heroine, Opal, is suddenly thrust into a maelstrom of shifting alliances & competing ideologies about how the world should function, a basic technology versus science dichotomy. So it's steampunk but not in your face about it, advanced sentient robots co-exist with magic.

 The set up of 2 cities via a fable-spinner introduction is minimalist but it works for now, Opal's miraculous 'game-changing' situation is the entry point for the reader & the rest of her band of ragtag 'gang'.

The varied shading evident is a nice touch ,at times it feels like a notebook discovered, veering between primitive and textured so if the faces shown can be a bit weird then the backgrounds are some of the best present within webcomics.

 I think the inconsistency is part of the charm. If nothing else there is a sense of whimsy here, a good sense of pacing and the story-line certainly has been envisioned as part of a long-term consistency. It's a mature and rich ecosystem that's been put in place for readers, and it will take commitment to go through the archives, I believe it would be worth it.

The varying personalities of the robots interest me, it's the little sideways gambits of minor characters, the vocabulary and political chicaneries that serves as a background to Opal's discovery of how her powers work.

Opal's numb lack of awareness means her learning curve is more easily followed by the reader.I'm not sure where this is going to go but what I've read so far points toward a decent and measured approach to what could have been bog-standard superhero dross. 

Musical accompaniment:  Sixtoo, Chewing on glass and other miracle cures. Background malevolence, somebody's watching you, seething distortion and sense of unease.

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