In these singular, almost unprecedented times, this comic book feels like it is coming along prophetically. There are two parts to this book, and each one has its own sense of poignancy and importance. This world is inhabited primarily by robots with mostly anthropomorphic shapes, living in proximity to different "factories" (Narrative Factory, Test Factory, and so on). The two who are focused on here are experiencing different types of, mainly, existential crises. The first has, essentially, fallen from functionality, spinning mechanical flowers in the grassy hills around the looming Narrative Factory. As he broods, one of the Narrative Factory bots, an acquaintance at least, joins hi, and they debate the value of the industry, trying to figure out a place in the world. Given the economic challenges being faced by many of us right now, just trying to be alive, this is especially impactful.
Then, the tables turn, and you see that this was a story, being told by two other robots, in a different part of the world in the Repair Factory. That segues into a more personal story, of Simone (the one who was telling the first tale), who was irreparably damaged and brought back incomplete. Like an injured veteran back from the front lines, there is physical (mechanical?) therapy, the unnamed robot struggles with this new reality (sound familiar?), learns inconvenient truths and struggles with depression and "other-ness." There's an ice-cold moment in their interaction that's visually arresting.
What makes this vignette all the more impressive is that every panel, every line, and every word is the work of a singular creator: Kristina Stipetic crafted every moment of this tragic tale. The mood not dissimilar to the film Lost In Translation or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as people struggle with their existence in varied manners. This work is moving and subtle, nuanced, and crisp, as Stipetic's deft coloring and seemingly unassuming art style draws you into shock and stun you with surprises. It's not an easy climb — like an artsy film; there's nothing to hold your hand and help ease you into this world. You have to sink or swim. Still, this creator is doing daring, engaging work, and it surely deserves your dollars. RATING: BUY.
Written and illustrated by Kristina Stipetic
We lie to ourselves and to each other, and we call this "striving towards greatness."