Reset #1 (Dark Horse)
Much rejoicing over here for a new series by master cartoonist Peter Bagge, whose work I've been following for a long, long time. Buddy Bradley and Hate got me through a lot of long Chicago winters (thanks Quimby's, I miss you!). Since then I've enjoyed pretty much everything he's done in print, most recently his collected Reason autobiographical strips and OGN Other Lives.
[embarrassing personal anecdote redacted]
Unlike the long-form character-driven adventures of Buddy Bradley, which chronicle the life of the same character from childhood to adulthood, Reset is a 4-issue miniseries that picks up with washed-up comedian Guy Krause in mid-life decline. Although this first issue of the mini is all set-up, it hints at something more shadowy going on behind the scenes of the virtual reality experiment of Guy reliving his life from one point on. It's interesting that both Reset and Other Lives both have a central theme of virtual reality and the way a person defines themselves inside it in a game or experiment (largely the same thing).
The pacing of the story is sure and steady, but the reset button in play in the story necessarily stalls things a bit. This is reflected in story by the scientists' frustration with the button and the lack of progression caused by Guy pushing it several times in quick succession, they even talk of disabling the button. (Part of me says, "YES, DO IT!") So I can't fault the story here for being the story, if you know what I mean. It makes sense for the reader to feel a little of that same frustration with Guy.
Love the paper. Love the printing. Love Bagge's gray tones and line work. Bagge's characters do a lot of talking, often arguing back and forth in the same panel, but there's plenty of room left to admire the cartooning style he's perfected over the years. These characters could have stepped out of the pages of any of Bagge's other books, with his signature noses and eyes, eyeglasses, etc. I could even imagine Buddy himself in Guy's DUI class somewhere in the back of the room.