Friday, May 2, 2014

Retrospective: A Miracle of Science

After I posted the last batch of reviews, I got an email from the writer of Tales of Winterborn.  He (I think it's a he) thanked me for the review and agreed with many of my points and asked me to elaborate a bit more, which I did in a very rambling style.  As I thought about it, though, I figured the best way was to present him with an example, and after browsing through my list of links for a moment, I sent him a link to A Miracle of Science.  Then I decided to re-read it because it's been a damn long time.

It's been a while, but it's amazing how well it stuck with me.  I could remember most of the major plot points, though not all.  Character names were more or less forgotten, but not their relationships and some parts of their personalities.  I did remember the on and off again coloring near the end of the comic (at one point the news posts below the comic mentioned it and said they would color it in later, they never did), and the main plot point:  the mad scientist memenitc disease.

And, it's still damn good.  The story isn't just about mad scientist and his plans, but the relationship between Benjamin and Caprice.  That relationship is probably one of the best I've read, it feels natural and there's no stupid moments between them.  I mean, no artificial drama to their growing relationship, just honest moments that take talking and understanding to work through.  It's refreshing.  Even better, both are very aware of what's happening and they're only kind of fighting it because they have bigger fish to fry.

I do wonder if the creators read any of Iain Banks' Culture series as I sense some influence in the way Mars and it's technology are presented.  I love the universe building it has, because while the story is a space sci-fi piece, it's almost completely restricted to the solar system, with only a couple mentions of extra-solar travel.  It feels big, yet small.  The various worlds are different enough to understand, but not so different as to be unrecognizable.  Actually, I think the real influence might be Cowboy Bebop, the anime series that is so damn similar in layout that it's actually quite remarkable.

Despite the influences, it is an original story.  It's a bit of a detective story, a bit of a romance, has some action, and despite following the mad scientist memes and tropes, it manages to not get bogged down by the ideas and even uses them to push forward character development.

In fact, little happens in this comic that isn't about character development.  The first action Caprice does is be annoyed about the time it's taking to dock her ship, so she walks.  Out of the ship, across the gulf of space and into the airlock.  Without a visible space suit.  It shows what she can do, but also a bit of her impulsiveness and misunderstanding of non-Martians.  As she and Benjamin interact, they ask and answer questions about each others worlds, acting as the reader asking the same questions, which grow the universe so much better than walls of text or a giant about page.

Saying much else about this comic is, well, pointless.  It is one of the best comics of it's type I've read.  I recommend this comic whenever I can, and I really should read it more.  I kind of wish this came out a few years later because odds are good it would have a print version I could buy (well, more than the first half of the comic at least).  This is a great comic, so go read it, now.

I mean it kiddies.  Until next time.

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