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Reset Hardcover – January 22, 2013
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About the Author
Peter Bagge createdHate, one of the best-selling and most formative comic book series of the 90s. Born in New York in 1957, after graduating from the School of Visual Arts, Bagge contributed to and, along with R. Crumb, edited the underground anthology Weirdo. Since then Bagge's numerous original graphic novels and collections of comics have won him two Harvey Awards (one for Best Cartoonist in 1991), an Inkpot Award, and garnered six Eisner Award nominations. His social commentary cartoons run in the magazine Reason, and his recent biography of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger is critically acclaimed. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Top Customer Reviews
In "Reset", a comedian-turned-actor whose career has taken a nosedive is given a chance to use a new virtual reality device to relive pivotal moments in his past in order to make better choices. I had expected the book to explore the "road not taken" and show some of the different lives the protagonist might have led, but Bagge actually spends little of "Reset" on the virtual reality stuff. Instead, the story focuses on who is funding the strange VR project and what the device's real purpose is -- which turns out to not be all that interesting or surprising.
I generally like Peter Bagge's stuff and "Reset" was no different but the story felt a bit half-baked. On the one hand Bagge does a fine job of creating mystery in the story such as who is funding such a weird experiment and what is it really for, along with the shady characters who appear periodically. On the other hand, he drops the ball answering those conceits, providing dull, if not easy, answers that feel like Bagge just didn't care or have the imagination to come up with something more creative.
It might be that Bagge is so used to making fun of dramatic storylines in a comedic way and writing stories about everyday people, that he's unable to fully commit to writing his own dramatic storyline. The best parts of the book were when Guy was dealing with his crappy life, familiar writing territory for Bagge, rather than getting involved in a convoluted plot about pseudo-time-travel machines and conspiracies which read unconvincingly.
"Reset" is a decent read which had me turning the pages to the end, and I cared about Guy, but I felt certain plot elements were handled clumsily and the very weak final act does the book no favours. Bagge's known for his humour but unfortunately there's little evidence of it in the book. The ending is weak and too easy, even stereotypical, and what could've been a thoughtful book ends up becoming disappointingly shallow.
But his work in Reason is only a small part of his oeuvre. His latest comic books have been collected in Reset, a series of 4 comic books now in one volume. He takes a bit of a sci-fi turn, giving his slacker main character (His characters are typically slackers.) the opportunity to participate in a neurological experiment. Hooked up to this new machine, this out-of-work actor is taken back to he high school days, and can make different choices at key turning points of his life, thus given a chance to reset.
Of course, nothing is as it seems. And life is much more complicated than we think. Reset is full of off-beat humor, somewhat thoughtful reflections on life, and Bagge's characteristic black-and-white art. Bagge fans will want to pick this up. Reason readers looking for some of his great political and cultural insight will be disappointed. I liked it, but if you're not a fan of alternative comics, don't bother.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy.
Meanwhile, the purpose of the virtual reality exercise isn't what Guy expected it to be. Still, Guy has the chance to relive his life as others saw it. Is that a good thing? No spoilers here: you'll have to read Reset to find out.
The art and story are both goofy, in a good way. The characters have some depth and it's easy to connect with them. In addition to being offbeat and funny, the story is also surprisingly smart and insightful. That's a rare combination. I would give Reset 4 1/2 stars if I could.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Peter Bagge was on a real roll with Apocalypse Nerd and Other Lives which were his last two books. With those he reclaimed the hilarious/cynical/ swiftian territory of his Hate... Read morePublished on May 24, 2013 by Michael Cohen
I've been reading Peter Bagge's work for many years and this is another great one from him. I have not finished the story completely, but will soon. Read morePublished on May 8, 2013 by Robert Toy