As a fan of speculative fiction I went into the first issue of Reset with some incorrect assumptions about its premise; primarily I assumed that the story was in fact Sci-fi when it was in all actuality much more interested in telling a small and utterly authentic tale of an ordinary man in a mostly ordinary world. When i got the second in my grasp you think that I would know what to expect from it as a read, that I would go in for the realism and the minutia of this man Guy’s life; if so you would be wrong.
This second issue began in such a way as to suggest that the story would now be taking off into the imagination, that the first issue had been earth-bound only by virtue of its ‘origin story’ status; or at least that is how I read it. Long story short, it doesn’t but that is more damning of my approach then it is the book itself. Expecting evolution from a title is one thing, as is hoping for improvement, but relying on Reset – a four issue limited series – to literally reset is a ludicrous stance. So while I was disappointed when it didn’t I certainly can’t claim the books cohesion as a criticism ( and just in case i wasn’t sure the book continues to count its page numbers from back win the first issue).
I can however say that even separated from my singular disappointments this second issue isn’t all that strong. Again the few fumbled glances that we get into the futuristic imaginarium technology of Reset‘s machine are the books most fun and fascinating pages but again these are functionally inferior and unimportant pieces of the plot; the book instead dedicating most of its time to two conversations that occur inside the office space surrounding it.
That’s fine in theory, in fact I tend to mostly be a fan of talk heavy types of sci-fi and storytelling in general. That this is more of a character than plot driven title should seem superior too but both traits are typically more dependent on quality of writing than their opposites are ( and less on art) and this is where the book most let’s me down. If a book dedicates this much of its time to a single conversation then I need it to be both a riveting and revealing one but for the most part these stories seem rather shallow and blasé. The characters themselves seem interested, even incensed, by their content but I’m just not sure how much I as an outsider can really care about the conflict they get into over chicken, doubly so the office politics that the book climaxes with; very rarely is middle management the most interesting element in a fictional mega-corporation.
There is an old writing adage that I adapted once in a workshop ( as many, many people also surely have before me) when I suggested to someone that they take the idea behind good dialogue – avoiding, whenever possible, having your characters talk right to a topic or feeling – and applying it to plot; in essence telling the story by talking around it and allowing the audience to observe the shape formed by the negative space in the middle. In a weird way this is what Reset seems to be doing, it’s taken a familiar premise and then formed a story out of all the scenes stemming from it that we would usually skip. This is admirable in theory but to be honest I’m still not seeing the shape.
If it were an ongoing I would have dropped Reset by now but by virtue of only being four issues long I am now halfway, so I’ll probably see it through. The teaser at the end for the third issue also has me a little excited, it seems like maybe they’ll finally start using the machine seriously. Sigh…it’s happening again.