Writer: Mat Groom
Artists: Marcelo Costa, Eduardo Ferigato
*Heavy Spoilers Near the End* I have the spoiler heavy paragraph marked so read at your discretion.
Self Made is a brand new title from Image. I had no idea what it was about, but the cover combined with the title were very intriguing. With it being a #1 issue, it is a perfect issue to try out. Until you reach the end, it will keep you guessing. Even then it leaves you with more questions.
As I said, the title combined with a woman reaching for a hand coming through a portal while climbing a pile of her own bodies really caught my attention. I will come back to the synopsis in a sec, but the next three pages with the title and then the energy ribbon were again very intriguing and graphically well done.
We get a short synopsis setting up the universe we are about to enter. Essentially a kingdom that has stood for untold time is about to come crashing down. Pretty typical start for a #1 comic. I kept reading.
A leader calls upon his troops to do what they and their predecessors have been trained to do for eons – defend the kingdom. Our protagonist, Amala, introduces herself by disagreeing with head on war, instead wanting gorilla tactics. The battle passes by off page and the kingdom is now dead, save Amala.
Along comes Prince arrogant, also known as Brycemere, and his firemancer stooge. The prince talks an over-enunciated, arrogant game. Amala and Prince B agree to go after their common enemy, Teronak. Their next step is they have to borrow a dragon from the Skrellian Elders. You can just tell Amala would like nothing better than to just bitch-slap the prince.
So far this comic is going about a predictable but not un-enjoyable path. It is cool, but nothing overwhelmingly addictive either. It is fantasy-ish so i keep reading….and then here come the oddities!
They enter the palace and Prince B demands his due as Prince of the kingdom. The elders are less than impressed by the out of place pompous tin can. Brycemere looses his anger, but as he draws his sword, the court archers shoot, Amala, Brycemere and Tomlin dead with a dozen bolts each. Their blood pools around their bodies (nice page lay out btw).
Okay, our party is now dead. Do we follow new people or what?
An energy bar is drawn atop the next page and all of a sudden we are back in the desert where Amala and Bryce are fighting on how to best conduct business. Wait. What just happened?! How did the story rewind? What is with the energy ribbon that keeps getting featured? Keep reading.
This time Amala does the talking before the elders and humbles herself in her request. After a quick insult to the Prince, the Elders grant the request and our heroes are off on the back of a dragon. That is kinda cool.
As they arrive, Teronak is mid-way through completing his ritual to gain total control. In the assault, Tomlin falls, but Amala succeeds in slaying Teronak. Of course Prince B is pissed he didn’t do it.
Amala and Brycemere start fighting over something Teronak said. Amala wants the power to rewind time and bring her people back. Prince B could of course care less. This was only about defeating evil, which they did. Energy ribbon and the argument restarts. Brycemere changes tactics, trying to get around Amala’s objections. Energy ribbon. Restart. Energy ribbon. Restart. What is going on?!
It finally comes to blows. Brycemere tried to kill Amala, but she kills him. Energy ribbon. Different moves. Same death. Energy ribbon. Bryce dead again. Until finally a white light takes Brycemere away.
We get a quick scene of a party followed by Amala standing over a well with Teronak at its bottom. The next panel is a man in pain or something with an energy beam coming out his forehead. Now we get the answer to what was going on. This whole issue has been a virtual reality simulated game someone has been playing from some sort of laboratory. He had been trying to complete the quest, but the Amala AI kept fighting his moves against its programming.
The male programmer talks about deleting the bug before release, but the female thinks it is a glitch that warrants further study. This was a twist i did not expect. It really makes me want to know where this is going in the future. Can you ask any more from a first issue?!
I really liked the artwork in this issue. It was not my favorite style, but it worked really well for this series and color shifts really did a good job of enhancing parts of the story and characters. Each character had a great design to express their personalities with, and the attention to detail was very good.
Going forward this should be a good story. The writers did a nice job setting up the characters and the world(s) around them. They also did a nice job of taking what seemed like a very typical type story and twisting it in directions we can’t easily follow at this point. I am going to be looking forward to future issues with this title.