Edited by Kyle Baddeley-Read and Rob Jackson.
A little under a year ago the first volume of Rhizome came out and I wasn’t all that enamoured with it (here’s the review).
It simply didn’t feel like my thing too much. Ho hum, different strokes for different folks etc etc. One big issue for me was the whole idea of an edgy sci-fi mini anthology feeling a lot like a comic book full of 2000AD Future Shocks, and by now I don’t have to point out how I generally dislike those even when there’s only one in an issue of 2000AD, so a whole issue of them… hmm.
And hmm is pretty much how I feel about this one. Sure, the strips here are ok. But ok is about it. There’s certainly a variety of art styles and stories here, but few of them did enough to make me all that interested, indeed it was more a case of bemusement most of the way through. I’ll get to the one exception in a moment.
S Tyler Stafford’s ‘Leera‘ is a time travel thing where the Barbarella-ish heroine finds herself transported 4 million years into the future, which scores points for the vast vistas of artwork but loses them as Stafford seems to imagine 4 million years hence would look something like every other futuristic thing we’ve seen, all arabian minarets meets post apocalyptic wilderness. Essentially MC-1 Arabian style and The Cursed Earth. Add to that a clunky pacing and there’s that hmmm.
Kyle Baddeley Read comes up with a couple of strips here, ‘Dr Ickbik‘ and ‘A New World‘ and whilst the the former is nicely silly it’s very slight silly whereas the latter does a great deal better, an 8-page with a feel of a classic Future Shock that’s obvious enough but fun enough. Dave Huxley’s ‘The Company‘ comes across as a real throwback to various Underground comix, complete with muddy lines and grey backgrounds and a routine bit of alt-sci-fi thrown in as a story alongside a bit of gratuitous sex. Hmm again I’m afraid. Ending the issue is Nick Soucek with a tale of futuristic ecologists doing a little time travel surveying. Again, just not enough there to make me any more interested than hmm, Soucek’s simplistic artwork here in just four pages just not connecting, not in the way it did in the longer ‘A Working City‘.
I’m sorry, but that’s how it is with Rhizome. There’s just not enough to make me go whoah… oh, except for the continuation of Rob Jackson’s ‘Corporation Pop‘, where he builds on the body swap, identity confusion stuff he established in part one and gets to go a little off reservation with it, putting loads of different ideas into this, running with the idea of ‘Dan Smith’ meeting the other ‘Dan Smith’ and deciding that something, maybe everything is very, very wrong with the world. How come he can see that this new Dan Smith is an exact doppelganger but noone else seems to get that? Cue an episode of barely restrained comedy from Jackson, really making the most of having 13-pages to play with here, introducing so much, and giving us a potential solution right at the end as well. Only potential though. I certainly wouldn’t expect to second guess Jackson here….
And some of Jackson’s familiar comedic moments….
Now the rest of the issue….
(S Tyler Stafford – ‘Leera’)
(Kyle Badderley-Read – Dr. Ickbik)
(The Company – Dave Huxley)
(A New World – Kyle Badderley-Read)
(Nick Soucek – Untitled)