I’ve been following Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota’s work for years (I really love their autobio comics), so I preordered this and promptly forgot I did that until it showed up in the mail today. It’s nice to give yourself little presents in the future like that, and preordering really helps the authors. Overall, though, I found this to be a bit of a disappointment when compared to their other work.
Fawn and Indira are interns at a photography gallery, and their first meeting is disastrous. Fawn insults Indira’s work without knowing that she did it, and Indira ends up yelling at Fawn. Both of them dislike the other for multiple said and unsaid reasons. Fawn is a “human-presenting AI” and Indira has an issue with AIs, the reason for which is revealed as the book progresses. Their boss makes them work together on a gallery show and as they get to know each other, they become friends and…maybe more?
I am a big fan of the rest of Hirsh and Ota’s comics, and this one felt more emotionally removed and distant. I think this was partially due to the characters, but even accounting for Indira’s general remove, I still felt like there was something not totally clicking here. Their other works have a lot of emotional depth and interesting characters, and this one seemed icier and harder to get into emotional contact with. I wish there had been more discussion of the AI issues in the society they present, and I wanted more about Fawn and Indira’s relationship as well. Maybe I’m obtuse, but the ending honestly surprised me because I didn’t feel like they were that close. I read a lot of their bickering and communication as not progressing beyond the level of friendship. Again, that could be because I’m autistic and miss social cues sometimes, but I’m usually not that bad when I’m reading books. I just didn’t really connect with their relationship or understand why Fawn was so drawn to Indira. I also wish they’d explored what Indira was seeing more and the PTSD consequences. I guess overall I wanted more out of this in a lot of areas and it was underdeveloped.
The art was nice and the colors were moody, and it was an interesting read in terms of trying to grapple with humans building bias into AI. I just wanted more nuance and complexity out of it.
Warnings for: car accident deaths, AI bias/racism, PTSD type symptoms, eye trauma