2000 AD Prog Slog

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Prog 810 21/11/92

I’m saddened to report that new thrill on the block, Wire Heads, isn’t working for me. I say “saddened” because the creators involved appear to have talent and the idea for the strip is strong but the execution hasn’t been entirely successful.

Wire Heads is set in a future world where what we now refer to as the internet has evolved into a vast virtual reality landscape called Paraspace. People go here for information, on holiday or to fight wars. Of course, while you’re there, you have to ensure that you’re body is in a safe place which is fine if you’re in Paraspace for a bit of innocent fun, but if you’re there for more subversive reasons then you had better be careful.

Mark Eyles writes it with a pace which is completely appropriate for what is supposed to be an adventure strip and peppers it with ideas throughout. Mike Hadley has an art style I like which teases a side of my brain that I only normally use when I’m asleep. However, I’m finding Wire Heads to be a flat experience. For example, I can’t always tell when the cast are not in Paraspace because the futuristic real world looks too much like the unreal one. I can’t tell the characters apart, even though many of them are drawn to look very different to each other (although not all of them). Their personalities are too samey and their names too ridiculous to remember. When they enter Paraspace, I find trying to follow who is who is confused further by me thinking that some of them have different bodies there (which may or may not be the case). It’s very frustrating because I can see how it wouldn’t have taken much reconfiguring for the thrill to work. Use a colour code or art style that differentiates Paraspace from reality, make the character names simpler, and occasionally step out of the story altogether to explain a concept or to elaborate on a situation. Instead, what we have is probably a good third or fourth Wire Heads run but not a very accessible opener.

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