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Comics Review: Off-Grid #2
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Off Grid #2Off Grid #1
Written by Plaid Klaus
Illustrated by Plaid Klaus
Colored by Plaid Klaus
Lettered by Plaid Klaus
Cover by Plaid Klaus
Mind Comics
Release Date: July 3, 2013
Cover Price: $2.49 (Digital), $3.99 (Print)

Off-Grid can be easily summed summed up as the Prepper fantasy book. Writer-Artist Plaid Klause pitches the book on his website thusly:

“The story revolves around a civil war that breaks out after the nation’s grid system is shut down for three weeks and the government mandates all civilians report to the major city “habitation zones” It explores the underground fight between the modern day high tech war machine and a small group of ex-military and anonymous hackers who call themselves “The Resistance” The novel [sic] also explores emerging technologies such as nano-bots and technology that is implantable into the human body.”

Which is maybe a bit vague: two issues in the focus of the book has focused on Half dozen Resistance characters and two hippies fighting Big Brother. Or running from Big Brother, it’s still not quite clear.

But I don’t think it really matters because this is a hella fun book! The first issue is available as a free download at its website, do yourself a favor, take a few minutes and read it right now. I’ll wait…

That was pretty good, right! It’s clunky but it’s a charming clunkiness, with tropes borrowed intentionally or not from works ranging from The Hunger Games to Terminator 2: Judgement Day. It’s brisk and full of great little events from the notepad sequence to the climactic deer hunt!

Issue 2 takes a step backwards and focuses on world building. It’s moodier both in tone and color scheme. Unfortunately it didn’t do as much for me, I found I wasn’t as gripped scrolling through the pages as I was when I read the first issue. His characters, with the exception of Jeep and Mac, haven’t quite taken form yet and much of the issue is action-light so there wasn’t much for me to cling to.

Klauses’ strengths as a storyteller, like in most great manga comics, are in creating the in-the-moment moments. Instead the imposing, monolithic government versus civil-liberty loving para-military plot gets put front and center here. And it’s not that I don’t care for the plot or the politics, Klause just hasn’t made his particular take on that strong enough to stand on its own yet.

That said: Off-Grid #2 still has some terrific, loony and unpredictable art. From giraffe-necked characters to unsettlingly familiar dystopian gadgets. It concludes with a cliffhanger that promises more thrills in issue 3. Plaid Klause has taken on an ambitious project here, and in true prepper fashion he appears to be doing all the heavy lifting on his own. So while he’s still maybe trying to find his footing I’m still excited to see where he’s going.

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