Growing up I always looked forward to the Sunday newspaper. Like most kids I wasn’t interested in current events and was happy to leave the bulk of morning’s delivery to my parents. I was interested in one thing only, the funnies. Like many of you, I no longer subscribe to a newspaper, but I do have an internet connection, so the sacred ritual of Sunday funnies lives on. This week's selection is...
“Not a Villain” (6 out of 10) Written and drawn by Aneeka.
“Not a Villain” is a story told in three settings, two virtual and one real. Most of the story takes place in the virtual settings of “L.i.F.e” and “The Game,” the characters spend most of their time in these virtual settings because the real world has been destroyed by apocalyptic events that have done considerable damage to the atmosphere.
Kleya, the main character, is a talented hacker attempting to start fresh in the virtual world, she sees herself as a villain and is trying desperately to mend her wicked ways and live the life of a hero, but her desire to hack and cheat is a constant threat.
Due to a hacker’s role in destroying civilization, hackers are vilified and any return to her previously devious ways would threaten her survival. Kleya accidentally stumbles into the limelight of “The Game” and attempts to keep her real identity a secret while forging a new one and succeeding in order to survive.
Three different art styles are employed, one for each of the stories environments. The majority of the story takes place inside “L.iF.e,” with a smaller portion taking place inside “The Game” and even less taking place in the real world.
The story is interesting, if a little slow going, and my only real complaint is that I wish more of it took place in the real world. The story of the destruction of the physical world and why everyone retreated to a virtual existence is much more interesting from a storytelling perspective than the vapid lives they lead in “L.i.F.e.” I’m hoping that as the story progresses it will move more and more into the real world as that’s where I think the real potential lies.
While the entirety of “Not a Villain” is available online for free, as always we encourage readers to spread a little wealth around if you were entertained, and physical copies can be obtained for books one and two.
The author currently has a Kickstarter campaign in progress to publish the third installment and at the time of this writing it has just reached its goal with thirteen days remaining.
The idea behind “Not a Villain” is intriguing and reminiscent of Ernie Cline’s “Ready Player One” in that it posits a society that spends most of its time in a virtual world due to a rapidly declining physical one, but with a slightly different flavor. I hope the author continues to see support and success because this story has some real potential if only it would spend a little more time in the real world rather than hinting at it.
"Not a Villain" earns six stars out of ten. The story and artwork is best when the characters leave the game, I only wish it spent a little more time there.