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White, Andrew – Territory



I’m gradually discovering that I’m losing my taste for subjective, mostly silent comics as I get older. Or maybe it’s just that the comics I’m not liking just aren’t that good and I have trouble calling them out on it. Which might seem odd coming from somebody who reviews comics on a regular basis (I almost said “for a living” there, then realized how ludicrously incorrect that was), but I always start from the general premise that anybody who makes a comic should be given every possible benefit of the doubt. Anyway, enough with the rambling justifications, it’s time to get to my problems with this book. I’ll start with the fact that I’ve read through this three times now (it’s short and mostly wordless) and I’m still not sure what I’m meant to be taking away from it. This starts off with a man explaining to his girlfriend/wife that he’s going away for a few days with a couple of friends, but she doesn’t seem to believe him, or she at least requires assurances. He travels until he reaches a cabin, and it’s immediately apparent that he was lying about any other friends being there. He then discovers a game board of some kind in the woods and calls his girlfriend/wife to lie about why he wants to spend another week there. The man plays the game, sits, contemplates, gets in another fight with his lady, and shouts to the heavens that he thought he had it all figured out. He keeps playing and keeps making excuses with his lady friend until… eh, even if I have my problems with this comic, it’s still not a good idea to get into spoilers. I will say that his reaction to the traumatic event was baffling, and what he chose to save (and how he treated it afterwards) was even more confusing. Maybe the whole comic was an allegory about valuing your loved ones and not wasting all your time on games, or maybe I’m reaching. I did enjoy the bright, vivid colors all over the place and how the man alternated between red when he was exploring or playing games and blue when he was talking with his wife. Some consistency in facial hair would have been nice too, as I wasn’t sure if he was supposed to be obsessed with the game to the exclusion of all else (hence the unruly beard) or if that was my imagination, as he was clean-shaven on several panels when he was fully bearded in the next one. There’s still lots of imagination in this one and it’s entirely possible that the fault of not understanding it lies with me, but on the whole this comic didn’t really work for me. $5