July 30, 2012
Review By: Mr. Roboto
Created by: SSJKamui
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A quick one to hold you over: People have been PM-ing me to check out projects they have been working on. SSJKamui is one of the most recent, drawing (sic) my attention to a comic of his over on DeviantArt. It’s actually a remake of a previous comic of his to improve the quality of the story and pics. Though nowhere near DC/Marvel studio quality, this comic still manages to get its point across, making you wonder about the nature of humanity and “fear.”
The Story: At a time when cybernetic implants, planetary colonization, and megacorporations rule, an alien force obliterates a Mars colony and are now appearing on Earth. Because the “aliens” appear to be human, they are called the Caine.
Because the Caine kill people, whether accidentally or on purpose, the World Government classify the Caine as terrorists. A computer algorithm was developed to predict Caine “attacks”, but with a huge margin of error. An investigative group is being formed to improve the algorithm, but when a member of the group is “attacked”, the World Government is ready to destroy the group and the city of Kyoto to stop the Caine.
The Nature of Fear. The main theme of Essence is the nature of fear: What is it that scares us, and what do we do to reduce the fear? What freedom do we sacrifice for (the illusion) of security, and does the loss of that freedom only generate more fear?
Sounds familiar? Those are the questions we’ve been fighting with since 9/11/01. Only now SSJKamui has put those questions into a cyberpunk comic. Or as Benjamin Franklin one put it “Those who give up much liberty for a little security deserve neither and will lose both” (or something similar).
And for that matter, who are the Caine? Are they alien beings beyond human comprehension, or humans that paranoid-addled minds have twisted into something inhuman?
Conclusion: While some may balk at the quality, the dialog is easy enough to follow. And the themes of fear and security makes this 25-page comic a good read. Though you might want to keep the lights on, and only turn the page when the Caine says it’s OK.