Staff: Amit Chauhan
A train wreck with clipped photography for art.
The cover of “Project Chrysalis” tells me this comic is about “A corporation with a history of evil and atrocities” and that “A girl stumbles upon her new superhuman abilities” and features some terraced photography with a filter on it. Well… that doesn’t fill me with confidence that this will be a good book. However, I’ll take it at face value and give it a fair shot. Let’s jump into Project Chrysalis.
Oh lord. The art. The ART. Yep- this is another trace/filter comic where everything is done from stock images and it is beautifully bad. I’ve missed this sort of artwork. It’s bad and there is really nothing worse. I suppose that it does, in fact, get the point across without hiring an actual artist. It isn’t until page 7 that the full impact of just how bad this art is hits us. We have our protagonist superimposed over stock backgrounds. She is clearly cropped out of the photos that were taken of her (or maybe of stock images?), run though a gain filter and plopped right there onto a layer above stock images. Her perspectives are all off, her expressions laughably exaggerated for a real person, and the next effect is something akin to looking at the collage of a 13 year old girl.
The lettering was done by someone with a copy of Adobe Illustrator who just up and decided they wanted to try their hand at lettering one day. We have a very thick text for the first third of the book while we get an exposition dump and some rather basis lettering done in the second half. It’s all legible but feels very “basis” and amateurish.
Plotwise we are using the (shakes magic mysterious historical event 8 Ball) Nazi Tibet expedition as the basis for some superhero hijinks. There is something about a husk-god and Nazis but we cut away from that in favor of meeting our protagonist. We get a whole montage of her groaning in pain and get some tell-don’t-show narration telling us what’s going on. The premise is that the Nazis retrieved a husk from Tibet and now in modern day due to some science-fu the husk is alive (and apparently an attractive young girl). She has superpowers and starts to fight the evil organization that is trying to catch her (for those playing along at home- that is trope #23 on the “Generic Superhero” plot list).
Let’s talk about the narration for a second. It is pretentious and almost as bad as the art. It talks about how a chrysalis (you know- the cocoon thing that hatches into a butterfly) is a catalyst for change, a new beginning then goes on to say how it is devoid of any imperfection, and that the word itself is derived from the greek word for gold. What?! The word “catalyst” is misused because it’s not the cause of the change- it’s the result. It is certainly not devoid of imperfections as many caterpillars don’t emerge due to defects. Finally… what does gold have to do with any of this (other than linking it to the next like “all that glitters is not gold”). The dialogue in this comic is just painfully pretentious (please turn on a Park song of your choice at this point for full effect) with lines like “tears from someone in despair are the kind of thing that pierces even the coldest of souls” and “Then you have to go through the humiliation of being spanked on the rear end….” (couldn’t say butt there?). I wish I was making this stuff up.
Overall, this is a joke. The cover set us up exactly for what was on the inside. It’s a pretentious mess that tries to hide how bland and samey it is. The art is the cherry on top- probably having been made with the aid of a bunch of very excited friends of the staff. This is apparently part of the Tiber Saga and if the rest of the comics in it (the other 2) and I’m glad I caught this one first so I know not to read the rest. Hey- at least it is a free comic… so at least you don’t have to ask for your money back if you bought it.