Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Weirdling – Graphic Novel
Release Date: 11/7/2007
Weirdling is probably the most unique story I’ve read in recent memory. Comics, novels, magazines, whatever. The story is a mix of science fiction, military battle, horror, mystery, suspense and downright drug-induced hallucinations. Either way I couldn’t put it down.
Weirdling is a complicated tale in a universe that is infinitely vast and yet so simple. For the most part the story takes place in only two locales, but it feels as big as the void of space.
The story follows one main character, Anna, who is a medic/soldier on a war vessel in a far off world from her home. The fleet is battling an underwater giant centipede army that has the ability to pass right the ship’s walls while infecting its victims with fast-acting flesh-eating slime. For the most part, it seems the battle is fought inside the ship.
To combat cabin-fever the ship’s soldiers, medics, psychiatrists, cooks and anyone else on board smoke a ton of hemp. If only Jack had thought of this idea in The Shining he might have made it past that first month in the hotel. Anyway, the inhabitants on the ship also partake in their share of virtual reality to pass time, but while asleep they are required to use a dream simulator. Through the simulator they are fed bits of information that seep into their subconscious. Some, like Anna, are given special abilities subliminally.
This part of the story reminds me of a cross between 2001, Saturn 3, Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Alien. It’s a wide range of visuals and emotions. On the one hand we see just how lonely space can be, even on a ship full of people. But on the other hand we see that the community is really a bunch of conditioned drones that no longer have their own personality. It’s complex and multilayered and its not even half of this story.
The flip side for Anna is her life she lives in her dreams. She is a doctor who has a lover in another place and time. In this particular life she attempts to save the life of a child with a massive tumor on his head. This child, though, is really a demon-child and during the attempt to save his life, Anna unleashes her power to raise the dead. Yes folks, we have zombies. Did I tell you this was complicated?
The story advances further with many plot twists that seems to get kicked off with the centipedes infiltrating a section of the ship. Among the more interesting developments is that Anna’s lover in her dreams is actually on the ship. The line between which reality is real and which is the dream is really tough to decipher.
While this story touches many genres it is mostly a mystery. Who is manipulating Anna? How did she acquire this power to raise the dead? Is she the secret weapon against the centipedes? Is she is a centipede herself? I got so sucked into this story because I just had to know how it ended.
I only read this story once and I am positive I missed key details. This story is just packed with plot it so easy to gloss right over a hint or a revelation. This is the sign of good writing.
The art work is outstanding. Each page provides that loneliness and claustrophobia of the ship during the “day sequences”. The “dream sequences” give a real sense of calm and a simplistic time. It does all this without color. For a black and white comic to delivery this much emotion into the panel the artist must know what his is doing. I do wish it were colored though. My personal feeling is that it would add more depth to the murkiness of the underwater scenes and make the hallucinations more psychedelic.
If you enjoy complex and story packed story in a space, horror or even just a Grateful Dead-like comic then this comic is for you. I enjoyed this so much I hope there is another story to be told from this universe. All this and I don’t even like the genres this story intersects.
4.5 out of 5 geek goggles.
Weirdling by Mike Dubisch