How´s THAT for a title! Sounds pretty cool huh?
A cool title fits a cool comic.
"Beckoning of Aetherius", the subject of today´s post is an indie comic in fact.
I talked about it briefly in my past post
(isn´t language fun), but now the time to discuss it at greater lenght is, at last, upon us. Brace yourselves!
I want to use this review to also share some reflections of mine... on fiction... on the immortality of the crab... You know the drill by now I´m sure.
Stick around, and listen! If you do, you MIGHT, you just MIGHT... learn something.
I want to provide some context for why it is that I´ll be talking about the THIRD chapter of "Beckoning of Aetherius" (as opposed to the FIRST as most would when seeking to introduce a project).
First of all, it´s the one that´s available to me at the moment.
But you see, that´s not the only reason, allow me to explain.I often like to skip ahead when I start watching an anime. First episodes are comparatively easy for an author to "pull off", as the consumer´s mind PROJECTS onto the unknown, filling the gaps with interesting stuff. As long as you set up a girl and boy, a beckoning horizon, some weird creatures, you´re more or less set. In stark contrast, interesting endings are much rarer and much more difficult in my estimation. With each passing episode, it becomes harder and harder to keep the consumer´s attention, as you´re giving him more and more time to "figure you out". I find that mystery to be the most alluring thing in fiction. An alluring, evocative dream, with plenty of room to dream within... That is what I want.
So: I jump ahead now and then, when I want to determine whether a certain anime deserves my time or not, as an engaging "episode 6" is much more of an indication of quality than a "fun enough" first episode.
There is also an interesting "Pulp Fiction/Haruhi Suzumiya" effect to be enjoyed in watching things out of chronological order; it allows events in them to become more mysterious.
I don´t jump ahead all the way to the end of course, but I often skip the first few episodes at least, and peek around, seeking beauty.
Anyway, keep all that in mind will you? It´s important.
Instead of giving you a precise synopsis, I´d rather SELL YOU the comic, sell you how important it really is that you give it a chance to win you over.
As I said, I´m landing on issue 3, so I have to assume much has happened that I don´t know about. What I do know is that we get to meet, in chapter III, two distinct groups of people interacting.
-Two guys on one side, duking it out on some sort of SF DOJO, donned in futuristic armor, talking while they spar. We can assume them to be soldiers of some sort, on some sort of organization.
-On the other side of the story, a group of two young women (they look like women at least) BAVARDENT (that´s French for "shoot the shit"). The setting they´re in contrasts nicely with the mechanized, industrial space that frames the men; they are on a street, surrounded by rustic stone houses, with what looks like a stone cathedral looming in the background.
The art is quite gorgeous as you can see, somewhat reminiscent of the work of John Kricfalusi; sort of cartoonishly grotesque. Crazy expressive expressions abound, and the females look very female-drawn, very human (not to imply the men don´t).I find it really amusing that the interaction between the two girls ("Lena" and "Metheena") starts with one of them SPOOKING the other, as if to stress the difference between their chat and the guys´ dramatic fight.
There certainly is a ying/yang dynamic present here that I can appreciate. Men and wo-men shown making a sincere effort to sort out their thoughts and feelings, with the clear implication that they will come together in the future.
The narrative deftly suggests many enticing directions the story may evolve towards. I find the ghastly, unaddressed scar in Metheena´s left arm particularly intriguing.
The girl´s conversation turns to a dreaded subject, indeed the bane of many a contemporary life: FEMINISM. That said, the work seems to tackle this most sensitive and unfortunate of religions with true skepticism. Unlike the mass-produced garbage spewed my most mainstream comics producers, this work cannot be labelled "feminist". On the contrary, I have high hopes it will tackle th monstruously stupid notion of "women as creatures entirely defined by tragic victimhood" in order to dismantle it, and that a heroic, heterosexual couple (a prerequisite for the production of new life) will emerge triumphant from this tale, armed with the treasures accrued during a sincere, courageous adventure. I hope Metheena and co. will come to understand the joy of proper, wholesome victimhood and that of sadistic, proactive action as well; the joy of saying "yes"... the joy of saying "no".
The "pills" trope (as in red-pill) is present here. In this case the goal is mostly to stop taking prescription drugs. Reminds me of "Brave New World´s" SOMA, we´ll see what happens around that, very interesting.
I actually have many more thoughts I´d like to write down, but if I make my post too long there´s a high chance none of you will read it.
The important part is: Go out and read "Beckoning of Aetherius".This beautiful comic features serious artistic craftsmanship, narrative sophistication, intriguing concepts, great dialog and the courage to be sincere. Its characters, far from being caricatures and strawmen, speak as proper humans should. There aren´t many projects like these nowadays so go forth, click, support Metheena-chan, read her works, that she may keep them coming!