Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Spot the Indifference...

Hot on the heels of last week's Indifference Engine preview from the mighty John Freeman over on Down The Tubes comes Wayne Hall's full review of the book on the SciFi Pulse Website. Here's what he made of it:

Comix Portal: Review: ‘The Indifference Engine’

Written by Wayne Hall on October 26, 2010 – 12:07 pm -

Being a science fiction fan, I sometimes ache for a comic that will challenge my perceptions of the world, of the universe, of my way of thinking. While I enjoy reading comics immensely, not many of them really fill my SF needs. Oh, occasionally one like Unique from Platinum Studios will come along and make me think about multiverses and ask my beloved question, “What if?” But not many really accomplish that.

The Indifference Engine, written by Cy Dethan (Cancertown) with pencils by Robert Carey, scratches that itch spectacularly, thank goodness! It is being produced by Markosia, and it is well worth accessing and reading.

Synopsis:’ “My name is Alan Blake. I’ve got no resources, no skills and no friends. But if I were you, I’d be the very last person on Earth I’d want coming after me…”

Responding to a strangely specific job advertisement, a distinctly ordinary twenty-something suburban slacker finds himself in the middle of an inter-dimensional task force staffed entirely by superhuman alternate versions of himself. Struggling to fit in, he uncovers a conspiracy that strikes at the very heart of the organisation–a conspiracy that only he can stop.

Alan Blake, by any credible standard, is a waste of good skin–a directionless and ambitionless slacker whose single most notable characteristic is that he makes other people feel good about themselves in comparison to him.

Alan considers himself a good listener, but it’s more complex than that. It’s almost like he absorbs other people’s problems and somehow unburdens them. If he weren’t such a loser, that one character trait alone could have made him immensely popular. Still, at least he serves a purpose of sorts. Whatever your own personal flaws or failings, hey–it could be worse. You could be Alan Blake.

Review: The four-issue series starts with two men who look very much alike falling from a skyscraper window. That’s important to remember as you read on.

Basically, the comic is about we influence each other as human beings, and how we look at ourselves. Alan Blake seems average enough, but he’s able to talk people into and out of things that he really shouldn’t be able to do. Looking for purpose in his life, he discovers that he is something special in the world–in fact, all of him are!

It comes down to two groups, the Infra-reds and the Ultraviolets, who are both after “our” Alan Blake for different reasons. But Alan gets to meet his maker, in a sense, who gives him a purpose and a destiny that he never expected.

The story is gripping, and the pacing of the storytelling is quick and fervent even during the explanations of what is going on. I couldn’t stop reading it! My impression of the art was that, while it fit the mood, was a little sketchier than I like. But my biggest quibble, since I’m a proofreader by profession, is that several words, including some two-letter ones, are actually divided into two! I hope someone will fix that for future versions.

I hear that Indifference Engine is something of a departure for Mr. Dethan, but I hope he continues to make trips like this on a regular basis. I LOVED having to pay attention and taking my time to keep track of what was going on. I LOVED the pay-off at the end as well. It’s a great mental exercise–my brain was tired for a long time after reading it. In fact, I LOVED that, too! What a great comic!

Want to download the digital version of the first issue of this comic? Click on the icon below:

Myebook - The Indifference Engine - click here to open my ebook

Score: 4.5 out of 5.

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