Comic Bento shipped something from a company called Insight Comics, new to the people at Comic Bento, last time, and it was an interesting premise, a series of short stories about the various characters in a shared universe about an afterlife war.
Well, they apparently do other things, so here’s a sci-fi story called Skinned. I liked, but didn’t love, Court of the Dead. What would I think of Skinned?
Short answer: this wasn’t that good.
In the world of cView, the people are implanted with special contact lenses almost at birth. The ruling king and queen invented them or something. What do these lenses do? They allow people to see themselves or their surroundings as anything they desire because being able to endlessly imagine the world as you see fit makes people happy or something. That…sounds unlikely.
Anyway, the main characters are the king and queen’s teenage or older daughter Aldair and a poor scavenger/hacker about the same age named Buoy. I swear, his name is Buoy. He is frequently called by friends “Buoy-boy”. Anyway, Aldair thinks being able to not see the world as it is is wrong, as she says when her baby sister is born to prevent the infant from getting her own contacts. But no, nobody listens, and when Buoy is somehow selected to go to an audition for Aldair to choose a husband (sort of), she picks him and the pair run afoul of conspiracies to take control of iRIS, the computer program that allows people to see all this stuff.
Here’s the thing: I didn’t give a single fig newton what happened to anyone in this book. Writers Tim Daniel and Jeremy Holt didn’t exactly create anyone worth worrying about. A late plot twist involving a secret villain, for example, might have worked better if the book had explained who the person was beforehand. Sure, the explanation comes later, but it didn’t have the same impact. Artist Joshua Gowdy’s work was rather dull, reminding me of a poor imitation of Mike Allred’s work. He draws a lot of different setting and costume changes for the characters, often switching a character’s appearance between pages or panels with little rhyme or reason, and that’s not counting when the work puts someone in an outfit that is a little too on-the-nose. A lot of the intellectual property stuff, ranging from Watchmen to Disney cartoons, reminded me of Ready Player One without the fine characterization of Ernie Cline (and I don’t think Ernie Cline did any fine characterization…he just did a better job than the writers here).
Look, I rarely rate anything below a 6 because a 6 is a failure and going below means, well, it’s beyond incompetent. It is frustratingly bad. So, with that in mind, here’s my rating: two out of ten hardly unexpected plot twists.
Seriously, there’s, like, a secret plot going and I was wondering why the characters waited as long as they did to fix things, and then in the last few pages, I had no idea where the two protagonists were going because nothing there was explained at all.
NEXT UP: Well, this has been a rather disappointing month from Comic Bento. What shall we end things up with? Oh…an original graphic novel from Marvel, written by Rick Remender called Avengers: Rage of Ultron? OK, I’m down for that.