The Geek Stampede Favorite 11/20/13 – D4VE
It’s difficult to find any sort of self-esteem these days. The closest a lot of us will ever get to any kind of real adventure or meaningful existence is in daydreams conjured at your desk during another mundane day at your soul-sucking 9-5 where a heartless, coffee stained boss attacks your every inadequacy with a revelled venom. After another day’s contribution to a corporation that devastates the planet as well as your sanity it’s even more deflating to have the simplest of tasks forgotten and your significant other reprimand you for your failure and pathetic performance or lack thereof of even the most pedestrian of requests. Dignity is a difficult thing to hold onto and it’s hard to imagine a more robotic daily grind when your life is a cyclical, well oiled machine, running perpetually in pursuit of a goal that isn’t there.
D4VE by Ryan Ferrier (Tiger Lawyer, Ultra Nova, The Brothers James) & Valentin Ramon (Hole in the Earth) is the story of our own existential discontent but told from the perspective of a literally cold machine. Programmed into his position and put to work in a world of dead ends and ponderous direction is a defense-bot with no war to fight anymore. Instead, he has deadlines to fill, a job he hates, a family that resents him and a general feeling of ineptitude and diminutive to devoid importance in a system that has no use for him anymore.
D4VE from Ryan Ferrier, Valentin Ramon and Monkeybrain Comics is the Geek Stampede Favorite of the week for November 20th 2013.
JOEY: Rob, I have no problem finding self-esteem because I’m brilliant. However, my imagination is so powerful that I can place myself in the shoes of a mere mortal such as yourself and really appreciate the struggle that is described here. The war of attrition between D4VE’s work-life and himself is so well realized. The sense of loss conveyed is brilliant. This was a character who was once on top of the world. He was important. He was respected. Until one day… he was forgotten. I love this kind of fall from grace because so often what we experience is a character’s downfall brought on by himself not just by circumstance. It’s not D4VE’s fault that the world moved on, or maybe it is since it was largely his and his comrades deeds that caused it to do so but, regardless of the why the fact remains that this once proud and powerful bot is now a schlub like every other schlub who has had to sit behind a desk and punch a clock.
Having said all of that, that doesn’t mean that the comic is dour, melancholy or existential. It’s actually quite funny. Definitely more the “Office Space” type of midlife crisis rather than the “American Beauty” though I use the example to explain the tone rather than simply any similarity or dirivitiveness (is that a fucking word?)
ROB: Absolutely agree. This comic excelled on several levels but especially by balancing the commentary on self-worth and loss of identity with humour and a totally empathetic situation viewed through a hilarious, science-fiction lens. Satire is often the best platform to convey a significant message and the environment in D4VE and his life consistently letting him down allows for us as the audience to witness this poor character have his life fall apart but have us laugh. It’s like a Louis CK bit where he is crumbling to pieces before your eyes but you relate to every moment and are able to laugh at it every step of the way. The Office Space comparison is a great example of this.
JOEY: Of course it’s a great example, Rob. I thought of it. As is often the case when the two guys writing a review have no artistic ability whatsoever it seems we’ve neglected to mention the artwork. We really should be punished. One thing that I was very impressed by was the way Valentin Ramon is able to make the cold steel features of D4VE and the other bots featured so incredibly expressive. These are all clearly robots and yet they are extremely unique looking and have so much personality. Furthermore, the world that the robots inhabit is so well realized, with very little exposition of setting we get a great sense of the surroundings. There is a great deal of background detail and little hints at exactly what kind of place we’re dealing with. It’s a testament to the abilities of the creative team that we feel we know so much already about this universe after only one issue. Rob, it’s time to sum up our final thoughts… Springer style.
ROB: At least his name isn’t Michael Bolton
JOEY: Of all the souls of all the comic books characters I have encountered in my reading this week, his was the most… human.
D4VE can be purchased through Comixology http://www.comixology.com/D4VE-1/digital-comic/50729?app=1
Check out the creators on twitter @Ryanwriter