Self/Made #6 // Review
Worlds collide in a bewildering mixture of action and exposition as writer Mathew Groom and artist Eduardo Ferigato’s Self/Made reaches its sixth and final issue. There’s a rush to reach the climactic resolution to quite a lot that’s been going on in a world in which an AI character from virtual reality game is brought into the “real” world. It’s the final issue in the series. Groom states at issue’s end that he wants to do more and there is some suggestion of an epilogue, but this final chapter in the story doesn’t make a terribly compelling case for further adventures in this particular dark future.
The heroic Amala has ascended into another plane of existence. She has taken control of her situation...standing angelic before the mystery she faces at the opening of the issue. She finds herself facing an elegant, elf-like figure who delivers a hell of a lot of vague information about the world she’s been diligently running through. Then an incarnation of her adversary appears, and everything explodes into action. The brutal combat places one warrior versus one warrior until more exposition needs to descend on the page in wave after wave of dialogue balloons.
Groom has way more story to deliver than he’s got time or space for in six issues. The story involves a dizzying interconnected system of different worlds that all echo each other in different ways. There are complex personalities to explore. Interpersonal conflict and complex fantasy mechanics need to also have enough room for severe and compelling action. Sadly, to get it all to close quite neatly in six issues, Groom’s sixth issue feels rushed and strung-out. There’s a feverishly listless rush of details the collapse against each other as the story gasps into its final resolution. There’s a mysterious scene to close-our the issue suggesting something more, but by the time it’s all over, Self/Made’s sixth issue doesn’t exactly welcome the further adventures of Amala.
Ferigato does his best with what he’s given. It’s a big wreck of action and exposition that would be a challenge for any artist to deliver to the page. An artist could take a rush to the finish issue like this in a variety of different directions. Ferigato goes for a straight rendering of action and drama. It’s a safe approach that allows the story to do what it wants to do. A little more vision on the part of the artist might have made up for the frenetic resolution. Theoretically, there might have been some way for the art to find a pulse to the story that the script doesn’t. Everything looks good, though, even if it’s in the service of a harried tale in a hurry to end. Amala looks suitably heroic in this final chapter in a triumphant last appearance. There is some satisfaction in that.
Self/Made has been a somewhat strange and derivative exercise that had real potential for turning into something breathtaking. The six-part series didn’t allow enough of a runway for the story of multiple worlds and strange games to really take off the way that it could have. It’s unfortunate. A brilliant story could have developed had the series been able to run just a bit longer and really spread its wings.