Science fiction is a powerful tool that can be used to take real world events and themes and extrapolate them into occasionally far fetched worlds and settings. Star Trek took the political themes of the day and made scary alien threats from them, Marvel took the civil rights movement and gave us the X-men. Wynter, from the new and upcoming publisher New World Comics, takes the online world of today and mixes in a little teenage angst for good measure.
For those of us old enough to remember when the internet was new, the constantly connected world of today is something of a contrast to the way things used to be. Arguments over whether that actor or another was in a film used to inspire debates and conversations on the subject where now its a quick visit to IMDB on someones smartphone and the facts are laid out. Before a deep thought or fantastic idea could inspire your thought processes and encourage you further where now, however, a quick google search is all it takes to remind you that thousands of other people have had that exact same thought, idea, concept and youre not the unique snowflake you thought you were. I darent imagine what it must be like to be a young person growing up in this always-online world but what about further down the line? What about when there arent just billions of humans but billions of billions. Enough so that every possible viable permeation of human DNA has been born into hundreds of thousands of times before or after your birth. Where all these people are so interconnected that every thought and action is logged and statistically analysed. There are no original thoughts left to have and its all on record for you to see how special youre not.
Thats the world of Liz Winter, and like everyone else she is no one special. The first few pages of this opening issue are devoted to telling the reader exactly why shes no one special. Every thought she has gets a running narration on how many times its been had before, and how even her responses have been experienced and felt before. Its Twitter if Twitter had an evil Mr Clippy pop up on screen and say, I see youre trying to tweet about the existential angst of teenage life, 12 million people have expressed the same thought in the last month, would you like to see their tweets? If that all seems a little dark then thats because it is, but fortunately a snappy pace and decent writing helps keep things from slipping too far into darkness. Its a sardonic sense of humour that fits the character and story well.
If the dialogue is perfectly paced then the same cant really be said about the issue as a whole. A lot of time is spent telling us about her perspective on the universe and then things go to hell remarkably quickly. Everythings a Haze remarks Liz and she could be speaking for the audience. Fortunately the last two pages pick things back up and leave the reader ready and eager to go on.
In addition to the remarkably high calibre of writing, the artwork is really good too, and not just good for an indie title. Its a painted art style which, while it may not suit the tastes of many comic book readers, does render the universe of Wynter in interesting and sometimes abstract brushstrokes. Its not all perfect, though. It seems that whatever future we find ourselves in, teenage rebels will shave half their head and use it as a canvas for geometric tattoos, for example - its fine just painfully generic. Then there are the borderline likeness-infringing examples of reference models that place Judge Judy in the role of an actual future-judge and, so it would seem, David Tennant as a pharmaceutical salesman. Small touches that can potentially pull the reader out of an otherwise excellently realised world.
While not without its flaws, Wynter is an engaging and enjoyable read that gets a well deserved score of four ear-rings in one ear. If you want to read it for yourself you can do so for free by following New World Comics on twitter to find out how to get the first issue emailed to you, and issues two and three can be found on Comixology.