Nobody is special. Least of all Liz Wynter. But she wants to be.
NOBODY IS SPECIAL
Liz Wynter lives on an alien planet in the cyberpunk future. She is seventeen years old and her DNA sequence has been born into so many other human beings across the galaxy that neither she, nor anyone else for that matter, will ever be special, unique or even interesting. It is a bleak conceit for Wynter #1, but writer Guy Hasson has managed to weave a good first issue out of it.
The reader meets punk-girl Liz who goes about her daily routine with the constant interruptions of her iME ™ – an app inserted directly into the user’s brain that answers any and all questions in a Siri-esque manner and provides their user with statistics about the other people out there in the universe who have made similar inquiries or had similar reactions throughout all of their recorded history. At seventeen years old this makes Liz, unsurprisingly, emo. She lashes out violently and allies herself with what she perceives to be the planet’s counterculture.
In spite of all this, her iME ™ (which she often, and confusingly, refers to as “Liz”), insists that all of these events have happened before. Hasson has created a teenaged protagonist who could easily be perceived as whiney, though managed to build a world around her that almost necessitates such rampant individualism.
Wynter #1 continues along with Liz’s friend Shane sharing an app called SUBVERSIVE with her. SUBVERSIVE allows the user to locate any anti-establishment organization in their city/country/planet/star system and receive updates about where their latest rally is being held. This strikes Liz as something amazing – that through the act of open rebellion one could stand out as special.
Following this she proceeds to mope around for several pages of Wynter #1 and the issue kind of goes downhill from there. When news reaches her of an attack on an anti-establishment movement that she saw scheduled in the SUBVERSIVE app (and the subsequent death of one of the only characters she cares for), Liz’s worldview shifts wildly again.
By the end of Wynter #1 our titular character is thrown in jail and while Hasson is a good writer he has strayed into too many tropes of both his chosen genre and of teenaged females characters that it is difficult for Liz’s actions to have much impact or for the reader to drum up empathy for her plight in the final pages.
JACK OF ALL TRADES MASTER OF SOME
Aaron Elekes tackles every art duty on Wynter #1 and that is a very admirable and surely difficult task. He deserves acknowledgement for the scope of the work he set upon, although not all were accomplished with aplomb. Let’s begin with the art. A lot of the line work is left in which feels counter the quote-unquote “house style” of other cyberpunk comic books, yet it lends a sense of realism to this world that’s actually quite nice. Where Wynter #1 begins to fall apart visually is the sense that Liz Wynter’s face is extremely photo referenced and that, in some panels, it is so over-drawn that our teenaged protagonist often appears to be in her mid-to-late-thirties. Consistency – particularly in the facial design of the reader’s touchstone character – should be paramount. The diversions between each version of Liz we encounter are not vast, but they are noticeable and ultimately distracting.
The lettering is done aptly, none of it falls into the distracting quality of other independent books, but the colouring is where Elekes slips back into his wheelhouse. Rather than approaching Wynter #1 with a super sleek, clean palate Elekes presents is as an oil painting. The lights and colours blend together and present a sense of unreality, as if both the reader and the characters are experiencing everything through unforcused eyes. It’s a smart move that plays beautifully on the page and bolsters the sense of danger that Elekes and Hasson seem to be going for.
DO YOU LOVE CYBERPUNK
… then you should probably give Wynter #1 a go. It hits a lot of the beats readers have come to expect from the genre, though not always with the most finesse. This issue is cheaper than your average comic book and, for the most part, it looks good. If this genre is outside of your typical comic book reading I’m not sure Wynter #1 is the best place to jump in for a lot of the reasons I just stated.