Monday, 1 September 2014

Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Lowdown: Interferences to successful chef Katie’s plans to move on to her own restaurant are dealt with by changing past choices.
I was very late to the Scott Pilgrim bandwagon, but when it hit me I quite liked it. I liked the movie, and although I suffered technical difficulties with the comic I liked that one as well (to a degree). Having recently heard Pilgrim’s father, Bryan Lee O'Malley, has released a much anticipated "other comic" I thought I’d give it a try.
Seconds, this new other comic, is all about Katie. Katie is a young and successful chef, whose venture – a restaurant called Seconds – has been truly successful. So successful that she has been arranging for replacements for herself while working on opening a brand new restaurant, one that she would own. Alas, various elements conspire to keep Katie ties up to Seconds, first amongst which her living right above the restaurant. Between the cost of renovating her new place and unresolved personal affairs, she may not be going anywhere.
It is then that Katie stumbles upon magic mushrooms that let her write down her mistake, take a bite, go to sleep, and then wake up to a universe where that error was never made. Starting off with good intentions – helping a waitress whose hands got burnt – Katie quickly finds herself addicted to the mushrooms. But will she be able to find an alternate universe where she’s truly happy?
In much the same way as Scott Pilgrim did before, Seconds is a comic utilising fantastic elements as it deals with the anxieties of the modern day youngster: finding their identity, finding success in their various endeavours, seeking confirmation, and most obviously finding friendship and love. All in a world full of competition and, well, other folk wanting to achieve stuff themselves.
There is definitely grounds for Seconds, but I found myself repeatedly struggling through what should have been a great read. First there’s the art style, which I have found to be too eccentric-cartoonish to my taste. It's definitely not the flashy art style many other comics seduce me with. Second, and more important, was the feeling that none of the devices utilised by Seconds are particularly original. Most of these ideas involving fantastic choice re-making and the potentially negative repercussions have been seen before and aplenty.
Overall: While I have enjoyed Seconds, I found myself rather disappointed. I give it 3 out of 5 crabs; I suspect those more at home with Bryan Lee O'Malley's style would fare better.

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