It’s big and ambitious, this trade publication from Dark Horse entitled “.self”. The trade collects issues 1-5 of the Comixology Originals series in print for the first time.

Writer and designer Christoper Sebela (.self is created by Sebela, McGee, Nalty, Bidikar, and Harding) presents us with Nat Winters (she/her), book store manager. She’s married and doing okay, thank you for asking. But unfortunately, technology is going to interfere with her dream existence. 

Her husband’s bought her an archiving app called Postscript (Yes, I know the name has been in existence in computers since at least the early 90s, like for reals). Postscript has been backing up her thoughts, her actions, her internal clock, her physical existence, to the cloud. Plus her passwords, her conversations, her every everything. Well, but someone has hacked into her Postscript account, then spread access to her life all over the internet! Talk about a Wikileak!!

Suddenly her life is an open book, so to speak, with additional characters suddenly presenting themselves into her life in the most unfortunate ways.

It´s a brilliant concept, and we are happily entertained and fascinated with the ramifications of what this Postscript nightmare is doing to Nat’s life. But it eventually pales, despite the best efforts of artist Cara McGee, with her careful linework, her Manga-influenced character expressions and motion lines, her carefully ruled and squared rooms, and dynamic panel tilts. And despite the detailed and observant colours of Rebecca Nalty (flats by Yesflats). And the clear and concise lettering by Aditya Bidikar.

After things settle into the murky middle of the narrative, past the ‘first this, then the flashback to establish characters, and then back to what is going on, and then what is going to happen’ stuff, things bog down. It’s like a Matrix movie that keeps adding Agent Smith copies by the hundreds. How many kicking fights, how much hair pulling and bleeding shirts? How many times do we Ring Around the Rosie in the Three Ring BattleBot challenge?

All in all, it runs long for me, it’s the four-course meal served twice, but the concept is solid, the reading is entertaining, the drama drawn to be gripping. Any drawbacks are in the big arc, the ramp-up, the climax, and like I said a few times before, its repetition. Editor Sara Harding.

Dark Horse, .self TPB, $22.99 for 144 pages of content.

By Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!