SELF/MADE #1 is a well paced story with a fascinating sci-fi premise about self-determination. Although this issue is marred by too much exposition, Eduardo Ferigato's art and Marcelo Costa's colors make up for it. Color me interested in following the series well into 2019.
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What happens when an AI defies its original design? This is the question that writer Mathew Groom, artist Eduardo Ferigato, and colorist Marcelo Costa seek to answer in their new Image Comics series. SELF/MADE #1 is a sci-fi tale that combines ASSASSIN’S CREED, READY PLAYER ONE, and FRANKENSTEIN. The result is a fresh series that ends on a strong note and sets up a grandiose plot.

SELF/MADE #1 begins with an intriguing premise. For a long time, the kingdom of Arcadia experiences peace and order. But when a war looms outside the walls of Arcadia, everything changes. The key to it all is the warrior Amala Citali who prepares to defend Arcadia with her life. But in the process, Amala discovers something beyond her understanding.

Defying Fate

SELF/MADE #1 begins as an army lead by a mage named Teronak prepares to lay siege on Arcadia. Unfortunately, Arcadia’s warriors are no match for Teronak’s army. However, Amala miraculously survives a brutal attack that nearly kills her. Immediately, Amala meets Prince Brycemere and his firemancer companion, Tomlin. While the main crux of the story is to stop Teronak, there’s more to the plot than what it lets on.

Self/Made #1
Image courtesy of Image Comics

SELF/MADE #1 hints that there is a sci-fi element to the story from the outset. After a one page text sets up the prologue, Groom shows a mysterious blue light that cuts across the gutters of the page. Indeed, the blue light plays a key role in the story in a nod to GROUNDHOG DAY. This leads to some great pay offs towards the end of story. Thus, SELF/MADE #1 warrants multiple readings so that readers piece together what is going on in the world of Arcadia. I think the blue light is a good thing because it’s one of those “aha” moments that leaves readers wanting more.

However, the plot suffers from a bit too much telling rather than showing. While it’s great to ease readers into what they can expect with the first issue, heavy exposition only leads to confusion. As a result, it distracts panels laden with drama and action.

Warriors and Dragons

The bulk of the characterization in SELF/MADE #1 focuses on Amalia and Brycemere’s relationship. Namely, Brycemere comes across as cocky and brash since he’s quite knowledgeable of Arcadia. In contrast, Amalia is serious and fierce due to being a warrior. Their relationship is rocky with Brycemere being too stubborn to listen to Amalia’s advice. But Groom subverts our expectations when Amala saves Brycemere from danger.

Image courtesy of Image Comics

The Art Sells the Sci-Fi Premise

Although he’s a relatively unknown artist in North America, Eduardo Ferigato is a great fit for the series. Indeed, Ferigato captures violent panels quite well with blows feeling painful. When we meet Taranak, Ferigato depicts him as a masked mage who impales soldiers with magic tendrils. Additionally, Ferigato borders the panels with the tendrils to pull readers into the story. This is a really nice touch that lets us explore the page while moving the action along. Overall, the art is quite excellent in this issue and will only get better as the series progresses.

Image courtesy of Image Comics

Marcelo Costa‘s stunning color work is easily the highlight in SELF/MADE #1. Costa is best known for collaborating with artist Mateus Santolouco so he’s no stranger to comics. That being said, Costa does a great job using red for dramatic effect. The melee scene — a flashback — shows how painful it is for Amala to recall to a traumatic experience. Thus, Costa complements Ferigato’s art work quite well.

SELF MADE #1 Closes Strong

All in all, SELF/MADE #1 lives up to its sci-fi premise. Let’s just say that the cliffhanger has a WEST WORLD inspired twist. Just when you think the series stays in one setting, it takes you to new places and introduces new characters. As a result, it’s easy to recommend this first issue to readers looking for one last new series to read in 2018. Do not miss it!

SELF/MADE #1 releases on December 5th. You can pre-order the digital version here.

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