Listening to the wise words of her own inner AI, Susan Omand read Blinker Chapter 2, Queens and Bugs, from Rosie Packwood and Madius Comics...
When we left Merrik at the end of Blinker chapter one (read my review of that here) he was in the process of sneaking past his guards, stealing a spaceship and escaping, with only his invisible AI friend Trixie (because Vitatrix wanted a “cute” name) for company. As Chapter 2 kicks off, Merrik and Trixie dive headlong into the hustle and bustle of the spaceport of Kardullah. Home to a wide variety of people from an even wider variety of planets, Merrik should have no problem at all picking up an off-the-books cash job so that he can afford to eat, right? Aye, right, as we Scots would say. Having visited umpteen stalls in the port, and getting rejections left, right and centre, he is about to give up when he is “saved” from being ultimately volunteered into the enlightened ways of the Intergalactic Union of Higher Ascension by someone who loved his accent. That someone is Raena, flamboyant owner of the equally flamboyantly named Galactic Gemstone theatre, who offers Merrik a job (and dinner). Problem solved! Or is it…
I must admit I’m intrigued! Not just by the marvellously over the top characters of Raena and Vladi, Merrik’s far-too-over-excitable-puppy-dog of a co-worker at the theatre, although they are wonderfully engaging with a lot of potential. Nor by the monumental strop that Merrik has at one point, the consequences of which may, or may not, become important. No, there’s one line of dialogue, delivered as almost a throwaway comment, that made me sit up and say “ooooh!” out loud - I can’t wait to find out what happens there!
Apart from all the action and intrigue of the story, the art in this issue, as you would expect from the multi-talented Ms Packwood, is AMAZING. Yes, the inner pages are all in black and white, but you don’t need, or even miss, the colour, as she makes fantastic use of the traditional technique of halftone (that dotted shading thing that means you can get different greys from just black and white, depending on how close together you put the dots) and the attention to detail throughout is wonderful; there’s just so much to look at in each panel. Another thing that I have always enjoyed about Blinker is that the lettering really helps to give voice to the characters, with the typeface choices, especially for Trixie the AI, making me hear them speak in a very specific way.
And, as I said in my review of Chapter 1, I love the fact that Blinker actually LOOKS like a comic. Yes, I know, it is a really stupid thing to say but, as well as using black and white art in the panels, Rosie has gone to the bother of replicating proper newsprint page backgrounds, complete with speckles and creases and it really enhanced the reading experience for me, immediately taking me back to my youth, conjuring a smell of printers ink (and bizarrely the taste of acid drops because a poke of sweeties and a comic was my Friday afternoon treat back in the day) and it very much put me in the right frame of mind for the fun that this issue of Blinker contained.
Because fun is the best way to describe Chapter 2 – great characters, superb art and a storyline that’s just bursting with possibilities. Don’t wait for your own “Friday treat” excuse to jump into the world of Blinker, find yourself a poke of sweeties and buy BOTH chapters of Blinker now.
Images - courtesy Rosie Packwood