A while back, there was a bit of internet buzzing about the comic Wild Children from writer Ales Kot. I read it and hated it. I thought it was a bloated, uninteresting and impossibly self-indulgent story. When buzz began about Kot’s next project, a four-issue mini-series titled Change, I decided to look into it. I like giving writer’s a second chance, most of the time it pays off. Sadly, with Change, it didn’t. While not as bad as Wild Children, Change is still pretentious and way too wrapped up in being clever.
The initial plot of Change is an enigma because, while it throws too much at you, the story still manages to be boring. From what I can deduce, we’re in some kind of future society where screenwriter Sonia Bjornquist is fired by a rapper named W-2. Apparently, said rapper is attempting to make a movie where he exists in some kind of Lovecraftian world, but Bjornquist’s script is too edgy and she won’t rewrite it, so she’s fired. Meanwhile, the first manned mission to the Jupiter moon called Europa is returning to Earth. The astronaut on board looks human, but there is something just off center about him. Back on Earth, Bjornquist stays with her agent, who tries to stab her to death for no discernable reason. At the same time, men dressed in red robes attack W-2’s family in their home. Did I mention the humanoid astronaut sees something moving in the ocean that scares him?
Kot throws everything at you but the kitchen sink, and yet does it at a pace that is nap-inducing to say the very least. If you’re a H.P. Lovecraft fan, then you’ll get the subtle nods to the author, which are about the only reasons to read Change.
The task of a first issue is to goose the reader and get us to invest in the characters. At no point in Change #1 do you care about any of these people. The writing is also very pretentious, though I can’t tell if Kot is doing this on purpose to illustrate how self-involved these characters are or if he just enjoys smugly patting himself on the back at how clever his writing is. Yes, Change is clever, but thus far that’s all it is.
Handling the artwork for Change is newcomer Morgan Jeske, who reminds me a lot of Paul Pope in that he loves drawing characters with rakish angles in their anatomy. Jeske has a hybrid style of Pope and Heavy Metal magazine, yet he lacks the refinement to really pull it off. Some of what he does is interesting, but it lacks cohesion, as if each panel was there to impress us but not really help tell the story.
Change has its moments and may find it’s voice in the upcoming issues. That being said, issue #1 fails to do what first issues must do, and that is generate interest in what is going on.
(2.5 Story, 2.5 Art)