I’m amazed there’s a Peter Bagge series that appears regularly. When it came to Hate or Apocalypse Nerd I was only certain the titles would appear infrequently and I’d often harass the local comic book guys about a series they didn’t care one whit about. Dark Horse Comics’ new initiative, releasing books by acclaimed independent creators—titled Dark Horse Originals—is great; it’s also the reason books like Reset and Gilbert Hernandez’s Fatima are reaching new audiences. Thank god, and thank god for Bagge’s contribution, Reset: a great independent book that’s widely available.
The last two issues introduced Guy Krause, a washed up comedian and actor, who’s recruited by a mysterious organization to take part in virtual reality experiments. Already establishing Guy’s early adulthood via simulation, and clueing in the audience to his many neuroses, this third installment in the series finds Guy taking charge of his fictitious past, using his knowledge of events to change things. It gets to the point where Guy’s running out of ideas—he’s already the world’s richest man, thwarted 9/11 (see image below), and is a pioneer in intergalactic travel. He also invented the Internet.
While Guy’s new employers are still shrouded in mystery, Bagge is revealing more about their intentions, in addition to who they actually are. There’s only one issue left and Bagge’s setting everything up nicely, revealing all that’s necessary and keeping the reader interested in buying the concluding episode. Like all Bagge’s work the art is cartoonish and very expressive, with character renderings embodying human traits superbly while still being quite outlandish.
As with Reset’s previous issues, this one explores ideas regarding technology and hyper-reality, asking if the simulations of existence people confront every day can damage one’s brain. Guy’s second-life is beginning to merge with his first one and the conspiracies his employer engages in are flowing into all avenues of his existence. Thankfully, Bagge does this humorously, showing the flaws of technological dependence but not condemning anything outright. Maybe that’s what the final issue will do, as Bagge’s take on contemporary society is usually intelligent, pointing out humanity’s flaws and the problems with contemporary America.