Saturday, April 2, 2016

Saturday Revue April 2: Decrypting Rita

Ever Felt Like You've Got Too Much On Your Mind?

Well, Meet Rita 

She's Got You Beat

The comic 'Decrypting Rita' is well named. You spend most of the story wondering if the character's going crazy...or if you are. In the creator's own words, this off the wall tale begins 'when a robot lady is dragged outside of reality by her ex-boyfriend, she’s got to pull herself back together across four parallel worlds… before a hive-mind can take over the entire planet!'

'Decrypting Rita' is the creation of Margaret Trauth, who also goes by the artistic moniker of Egypt Urnash, and can be found here.

The Rating

Let me get my brain untangled....ahem....

The Raves

Like mind games? Brain puzzles? Whodunits? You, my friends, have found GOLD. This comic has some of the most involved, intricate and jesuitical storytelling I've ever seen. Every single page is a puzzle. Clues and hints are spread across the story like breadcrumbs, teasing you ever further into the tale. The story follows a handful of core characters  across four nicely color coded streams of reality, which makes keeping them separate and cogent MUCH easier than it could have been.
But whatever world they're in, the main characters are true to themselves and their ideals, and that is one of the strongest points in this comic's favor.  There's a 'Cloud Atlas'esque feeling to the storytelling that is both psychologically compelling and charming. The story harks back to the idea of indeleble 'moral fiber', as archaic as that is, but in 'Rita' it rings true. In the strangest of circumstances, its characters stay faithful to who they are.
And to keep you interested, throughout the story you'll get explorations of love, mortality, meaningful relationships and loss. Oh, and snark. All the snark, all the time. The humor in the story is one of its strongest points, leavening difficult moments and pepping up action. 
The art is a quite impeccable vector style, almost clinical in its precision, and enlivened  now and again with gifs and popups. The site is also one of the most unique out there, with all sorts of innovative features. But all the bells and whistles aside, 'Rita's coloration is a main theme throughout the story. Watch the colors, readers, if you want to know what's going on. You're going to need the help.

The Razzes

But as with so many things, the unique nature of 'Rita' is both its blessing and its curse. You spend an awful lot of time asking what's going on, both with the story and the site itself. The site particularly began to annoy around chapter 5. If you click on a chapter, most of the other navigation buttons disappear until you've read THE ENTIRE CHAPTER, and I found myself with an uncomfortable urge to hit the ESC key. Cutting your readers off from easy navigation until they finish an entire chapter in a sitting? Bad move. The site looks slick, but when it begins to intrude on the story it only showcases the failings of technology. I think I really would have liked to read 'Rita' as a book, and may buy myself a copy yet.
The same problem, alas, popped up in the story, and would also benefit from the blurb on the dust jacket to orient readers. This is a story that really NEEDS you to read the 'about' section before you dive in, and I recommend that the creator makes that the landing page. Otherwise the reader spends the first few pages wondering what gives.

The Revue

A wonderful tale that really made me use my brain. It might puzzle or frustrate now and again, but hey, brains need exercise too! Read it and get your workout. 

1 comment :

  1. Really I'd rather just have it be one long scroll, but apparently half the internet really hates grabbing the scroll bar at the bottom of the window nowadays, so I have this rickety javascript that stops working every now and then. I seem to have gotten it fixed; I just quickly skimmed the entire story and fixed a few page names that were breaking the navigation.

    Thanks for the review! 💙


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