Writer: Mat Groom
Artist: Edwardo Ferigato
Self/Made is a science fiction/fantasy comic that inverts many of the tropes these genres are known for. In doing so this comic is at once comfort food and delicacy for those who have a taste for magic as well as technology.
Self/Made owes a lot of its freshness to the writer, Mat Groom, who has a keen eye for dialogue. However, while the dialogue stands out from many other comics, it’s not even Groom’s most noble strength; the pacing of this issue is spot on. Each page shows progress in plot (and character) and adds intrigue to the overt cliches that mark it. Many elements in this first issue are staples of the fantasy genre. The hero, the mage, the quest, the Big Bad. While it feels cliche in the moment, it all leads to something larger and grander.
As stated, any reader of a single fantasy novel will see characters they recognized as tropes. However, the protagonist breaks the mold and feels apart from the tropes that swirl about her. Amala’s logic, cool head, and knowledge of the world make her much more than the cardboard caricatures around her. Ironically, the other characters are self-aware caricatures. They proceed through this comic on a predictable course to illustrate Amala’s unique position. It’s clever and intriguing, and this reader can’t wait to see what happens next.
Edwardo Ferigato’s style lends itself well to the fantasy aspect of this piece. It’s detailed when it must be and stylistic when scope and scale are needed. The characters are easily defined and those who are meant as more than cliche are memorable in their appearances. On the other side, those caricatures touched on earlier don’t only act the part but look it as well. While Ferigato’s work is apt for this piece. As the plot unfolds into a science fiction world, this reader is curious how the artist’s style will change.
Self/Made used tropes and cliches to great effect. It introduces ideas we all know and love, then makes us think about them in new ways. The themes this first issue touches on are those of determinism vs destiny vs free will, as well as self-discovery in a world that seems intent on moving forward without you. These are all relevant questions for our time, and this reader hopes Self/Made continues to ask the big questions of its readers.
A great start to a promising story. One only hopes the philosophical leanings brought up in this #1 continue throughout the run.