lunes, 30 de mayo de 2016

Wrecked Hearts

As you may already guessed, since I discovered crowdfundings and, specially, Kickstarter, I've been wasting a substantial amount of money backing several comics now. However, this is the first time I've decided to review one of them here... why would that be? Well, it is actually the first crowdfunded comic I've backed to date that has arrived in its physical edition within the estimated delivery schedule. It happens to be also the only crowdfunded comic I've backed that I've actually read once on my hands. And, last but not least, it is just incredibly amazing.

Wrecked Hearts includes two independent stories whose only connection is that they are both set on the outer space. First, Luca Oliveri introduces The Real Thing where Fio has an erotic dream with a classmate. Nothing so special about it except that Fio is a girl and in her dream she was a boy. Still, that wouldn't be that remarkable either if it weren't for the nature of Fio, whose father is an alien and who can actually metamorphose into anything, the opposite sex included! Unfortunately, she has been strictly forbidden to transform into anything nor anyone than her true nature, which gets her too frustrated. Finally, she decides to transform into a guy in the upcoming school trip, in order to get close to Roman (her crush) and materialize her fantasies. You will have to buy and read the comic to find out if she accomplishes it!

The Real Thing perfectly fits into the classical shôjo structure while introducing a bunch of extra features such as sci-fi jargon and setting and a hermaphrodite teen protagonist with ambiguous sexual orientation. The universe created for this story is interesting itself, with space hockey played over the frozen surface of some uninhabitable satellite and casual references to current human history and culture such as Gundam and health issues of present astronauts. The concept of an alien species with the ability to metamorphose is not that innovative, the fact that the author fuses both of them into a romantic teen comedy makes this story so hilarious and enjoyable. Fio is so reckless it makes the reader laugh and the art is really gorgeous, clearly influenced by manga aesthetics but with a notable European background too. Furthermore, this story is in full-color! I didn't really know before opening it (or maybe I just forgot but the surprise was the same) so it was great to discover.

The main cons of this first comic would be it is way too short (only 40 pages), precipitate and with an open end, which reminds me of one-shots or yomikiri, which typically give rise to longer and serialized stories in the same magazines. Continuing with the Japanese dynamics, the onomatopoeias are written in Japanese which makes no sense to me but maybe was made in purpose to resemble manga even more. But what upset me the most was the lacking consequences of Fio's deception, since she hurt Roman (resulting in the first wrecked heart) and not only did she not apologize but was Roman who did it. Also, the whole story is so innocent that it hurts me to actually write it down but one of the scenes gets dangerously close to sexual abuse, even if it's intriguing to watch gender's cliches switched. Of course, The Real Thing is a comic about boundaries and their ambiguity so no wonder Luca decided to tackle not only theoretical ones but physical ones too.

Later on, Mathilde Kitteh presents Dark Energy where the goddess who created the universe is tired of passively observing how every living creature falls in love and has its happily ever after with its loved one so she decides to become human in order to be gifted too by the feeling of love. Of course, being immortal, she will encounter lots of love but also lots of sadness as she goes losing everyone she loves to the point she forgets who she actually is. At this point she locks into a space ship where only plants keep her company. That's when the semi-android journalist Mikael meets her, in order to visit her greenish ship and write a book about it afterwards.

Astrée (which, by the way, comes from the French astre, which means star, with an additional "ée" ending which typically transform nouns into feminine adjectives) and Mikael are the loveliest of the bizarre outer space futurist supernatural couples. Although the main plot would be the romantic one as part of the Wrecked Hearts topic, there is room for sci-fi unfolding same way as Luca developed in his story. Instead of cool futuristic adaptations of current sports, Mathilde prefers alien and technology-driven speciation including androids (as the male protagonist), ever-farting clouds and a range of tiny talking plants with witty names. Here, Astrée has to confront her inner demons and accept who and what she is. Although Dark Energy is considerably longer than the former, the story also feels dramatically hasty with a marked sprint at the end that rapidly results in bitter closure.

Both stories are clearly influenced by Japanese comics in terms of structure, sequential narrative, drawing style, with The Real Thing echoing shôjo and BL frameworks while Dark Energy kind of resembles Ghibli universe as the protagonist reminds me of classical anime heroines as Nausicaä, Chihiro or Princess Mononoke in their characteristic alienation from humanity, broken heartedless and genuine kindness, which they all share with Astrée.

I have really enjoyed discovering the outer space diving into these intimate tales, overflowing with human conflicts from a slightly romantic coded view. I definitely recommend Wrecked Hearts to all shôjo and sci-fi lovers and I hope Peow Studio will continue to rely on Luca's and Mathilde's talents in further publications! I am positive I would back them again. 

4 comentarios:

  1. It seems interesting, thanks for reviewing :)

    BTW, it's sad that the other kickstarters you funded didn't arrive in time! I hope you get them all sooner or later.

    1. Thanks for reading! ^^

      Yes, they all end up arriving but it is still frustrating to never know when you would be able to read them... I remember one delay of more than a year later than expected!

  2. you had me at Gundam, but I think I would enjoy more Dark energy. Anyway all stories seem pretty interesting!

    kickstarter are always a gamble so i'm glad this one was a success (in quality AND scheduled delivery xD)

    1. Hahahahaha, no wonder why would you think Dark energy would satisfy you the most xD