I hope you enjoyed the first part of this review. But again, this is basically me just gushing about a work I like, so if this isn’t as entertaining as my spork, I apologize.

The thirteenth strip immediately introduces three new characters. Unlike what has been going on for a while now, these three are not recurring characters. They will never be seen again. Interestingly, one of them has green hair, so apparently green is a natural hair color in the comic’s world. Equally oddly, the only boy in the group has a very strangely drawn nose, with the skin directly underneath it strangely shadowed. Armand does not draw anybody else with a nose like this at any other point in the entire comic, and it just looks extremely weird. But I digress.

So these kids are walking along, and from out of nowhere the one with green hair1 brings up the subject of magic. The following panel is a close-up of the third kid, all by herself, saying that magic “sure does suck”.

Oh no. My irony meter. It’s gonna blow!

So it turns out that all three children agree that magic is stupid and that they are all glad that none of them have magical powers, reasoning from works of fiction in which the magical characters just want to be normal, or some such. It’s so ridiculous that it comes off as a bit of a straw man; the oddly-nosed boy slams the notion of immortality and saying that people enjoy life only because they know that they will die someday. It’s as though Armand anticipated the complaints that people would have with his comic, since its hero is pretty much omnipotent.2

Now, we will see the significance of these children shortly. While these existentialist children are talking, minus flies by them in a cloud, over three beat panels, in which we see them reduced to speechlessness. As soon as minus leaves, the scene cuts to the three kids making clouds out of cardboard and presumably trying that trick themselves. We will never know how they’ll feel once they find out that they cannot duplicate it.

So now I think we now know what Armand thinks of all those stories where magic is not what it is cracked up to be. Even though that was a Writer On Board moment, it does not make it any less entertaining.

On the other hand, the fourteenth strip goes in the opposite direction. minus and the green-haired girl from the twelfth strip are gazing up at the stars, causing the green-haired girl to remark that she wishes she could reach out and grab one. In a Beat Panel, minus looks at her as though she had two heads or something, as her friend has apparently forgotten that minus can do whatever the hell she wants. So she does exactly that, and has a star in her hand. Again, this part of the strip is told only through their movements and facial expressions.

Since she is just a child, in the next panel minus does something monumentally stupid and careless. She opens the hand that is holding the star. I think you can guess what happens next.

Fortunately, before everyone on Earth gets burnt to death, minus turns back time, or something (?) to before the green-haired girl wished she could touch the stars. So of course, the panel is reversed and wavy in order to depict this.

Then the exact same scene happens, but this time, minus agrees with her friend’s sentiment, and doesn’t do anything.

So wait, did minus see what was happening and hurriedly changed everything back to normal before it was too late, or did she know this would happen all along but did that on purpose, just to show her friend how stupid her desire was? This is another example of her behaving much like a trickster figure, and the audience cannot tell whether she is well-meaning or just in it for the lulz. And again, since there isn’t any narration told from any character’s perspective, the readers are not expected to automatically think that anything the main character does is justified, which is good writing, or drawing, as the case may be.

After that rather macabre setup, it’s onto the fifteenth strip, where, surprise surprise, the Earth isn’t a scorched wasteland! The first panel has chibi-minus and her equally chibified friend playing basketball. They revert back to normal art style in the very next panel, so I can only assume this was a stylistic choice in order to emphasize how high up a basketball hoop is compared to a child. This goes on for a few panels, until this guy walks onto the court, who, I should point out, is already spinning a basketball on his finger like those people who are trying to be cool. Now, he sees the two kids playing with their own ball, so what does he do? Kick it away from them with all his might, of course!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Everybody in this comic is a jerk, the green-haired girl excepted. Sometimes, I think that Armand sets up these situations just so that the readers can cheer minus on when she inflicts some horrible punishment onto her Victim of the Week.

So of course the green-haired girl and minus are really angry at this guy. We can see how upset minus is because she is just looking at the ground. So the green-haired girl confronts the guy, and he says that he is commandeering the court so that he can practice basketball. To their inevitable protestations, he states that since they suck at basketball, they have no right to be playing there. What a douchebag. Of course they’re not gonna be good at it; they’re little kids. And it’s a basketball court, there’s probably an unused hoop at the other end this guy can practice with. To her credit, minus just rolls her eyes at this, and I just love the way Armand handles subtle facial expressions. It really shows that you are reading a comic and not a text story.

So the douchebag goes on about how the kids can play with the trash can and stuff, blissfully unaware of the fact that he is shrinking. (But of course!)3 Once he gets to the point where he is no taller than minus’s ankle, he notices his surroundings and naturally freaks out. The kids wonder what they should do with him, and (all without any dialogue, mind you) minus decides to shrink them all down to the size of ants, so that she and her friend can ride one and chase the guy, thus leading to the next story arc.

The sixteenth strip is minus. warrior queen of the ant people. It starts off with two adult characters who aren’t that important. We see some characters later who look like them, but I don’t think they’re meant to be the same. Turns out they’re on a picnic, and we see another beautiful landscape. The woman goes to get the stuff that they left in the car, and unfortunately for the guy left behind, the very next panel depicts minus and the green-haired girl in full medieval plate armor, brandishing swords, and riding practically a whole colony of ants straight toward the site of the picnic.

So the man is minding his own business for a few panels when all of a sudden the ants show up. Of course he tries to stomp them, but minus goes back to normal size and blocks his foot with her shield. Then, she holds him up at swordpoint and takes the picnic basket, before returning to the size of an ant. What the hell? The guy didn’t even provoke her!

Now, if I was on a picnic, and I saw this kid just appear from out of nowhere, point a sword at my neck, and leave from out of nowhere, I would think I was having a psychotic break. So of course the man goes into a crestfallen expression reminiscent of those troll comics (though as far as I know, this predates them) only for his girlfriend to come back, very disappointed. She probably thinks that he ate all the food, and it is all minus’s fault.

The story arc continues onto the seventeenth strip. This strip has no dialogue at all, and is nothing more than the ants building a miniature city on somebody’s lawn. At the last panel we do get to see some kid looking at it quizzically, but that is all. So onto the next strip.

An ant tells minus4 about this guy who stomps on ants for the fun of it. In the flashback, we see that the ants care for one another, and are aggrieved when fellow ants die. I guess minus gave them human-level intelligence or something. Gee, it’s a good thing they won’t do anything without her permission, right?

So minus takes pity on the ant and gives her5 super strength, and orders her to take revenge on the guy.

We see that the ant-killer is a kid, and the next panels are of him silently going about his morning routine. No sooner does he go outside then the ant tackles him to the ground and presumably drags him off to parts unknown. Now granted, he’s another Asshole Victim, but I shudder to think of what the ants might do to him.

The nineteenth strip is another short one, and the last one of this story arc. minus and the green-haired girl are standing atop the pyramid that they built, with minus addressing the ant army. But in the background, we can see that the green-haired has kind of had enough, and she tells minus this. So minus brings them back to normal size, and you gotta love the artwork in these panels; minus’s cape flowing in the wind and the green-haired girl’s somewhat sheepish expression. I know that I’ve praised the art in this comic a lot, but that’s ‘cause it’s breathtaking at times, in spite of looking like it’s been done in watercolor.

The strip ends with the two of them playing basketball again, and bringing this arc full-circle. But this does raise some questions. If her friend hadn’t said anything, would minus have just done this forever? She showed no indication of wanting to stop, and what we’ve seen of her character up to this point suggests that she doesn’t care at all about the wider world. Also, what became of the ants? Apparently they have some level of intelligence, so did minus change them back, or did she just leave them to their own devices? Either option is disturbing. It’s another one of those things that makes you think.

In any case, the twentieth strip introduces yet another recurring character. The unusual thing about this one is that… she’s a ghost. Ghosts in this comic look like humans from the waist up, but have the stereotypical wispy tail, I guess so the readers know they’re ghosts, or something? Apparently, minus is the only one who can see ghosts. Well, this ghost just shows up in minus’s house when she’s asleep and wakes her up. That’s kind of rude. The next panel is them up miles in the sky looking at this dandelion-like thing. Even though it’s clearly a dandelion, the ghost thinks it’s a strange balloon that aliens made. This is foreshadowing. But that’s not important right now.

The next panel cuts to a completely different scene with minus on a rowboat with a different ghost, who is apparently teaching her how to fish. In fact, this strip is mostly a set of one-off panels in which minus interacts with a different ghost. There’s another unimportant one before we meet yet another recurring character, also a ghost. This one stands out by her red hair and freckles, as opposed to the other ghost, who has brown hair. So the ginger ghost is having minus torment some bystander for their own amusement, and minus thinks it’s all a game. This, too, is foreshadowing. After playing around some more, minus’s forever off-panel mother yells at her to get in bed, because it is a school night, young lady.

So the next panel is minus conjuring yet another ghost, to read her a bedtime story. Gee, I wonder what her relationship could be with her parents?6

The twenty-first strip shows minus in class. See, there’s continuity in this comic. The last strip said it was a school night, and in this strip, minus is at school. The teacher, who is also always off-panel, asks minus a question and she answers with a character from a book. You mean to tell me that minus can do whatever she wants, but never once thought to make it so that she would always know the correct answer to questions that she is asked at school?

Anyway, she looks very crestfallen and starts writing something down, while the teacher calls on somebody else, a girl named Clary.7 Oh my God, another character has a name! It’s unfortunate that Clary will not appear in any strip after this one.

So Clary correctly answers the history question, which is deliberately vague because Armand wanted to make the setting vague, only for the teacher to say that minus’s answer was correct all along, meaning that minus is now recklessly altering history. Oh Crap.

So Clary looks at her textbook in utter confusion, only to find that that’s what is written there. The next few panels are of her looking utterly embarrassed, all while the teacher is changing her story. As we will see, this is because minus is writing the whole thing down. Okay, that’s kind of vindictive of her, but it further demonstrates how she does not seem to be aware of the wider consequences of her actions.

The twenty-second strip is, as you can probably guess by now, something completely different. It begins with this guy at a restaurant eating cake, only to gag on it. Again, I love the facial expressions here. It then cuts to minus walking along, only for the ghost of a chef to show up. He tells her that the restaurant (which he no longer owns because, you know, he’s dead) is now serving terrible desserts, so minus must make new ones, or something. He can’t just ask her to use her powers to make the desserts good; she has to go to the restaurant herself and bake them, or something. Screw you, child labor laws!8 As is usual by now, none of the cooks in the kitchen find anything unusual about a kid working there. So minus telekinetically does everything, and the others applaud her instead of, you know, freaking out.

Once this is done, the ghost chef tells minus that she must now impersonate one of the waiters, or something, and she makes her now-default surprised face. Since nobody, not even the customers, question why there is a child waiter, they ask her for whatever she recommends, and of course she gives them a milk carton. Because, you know, she’s a kid. The customers don’t look too happy though, but that doesn’t matter because that’s the end of the strip.

The twenty-third strip is a short one, but it’s also kind of painful to read, and you’ll see why. That does not mean it is bad, though.

So minus is playing Cupid and randomly firing arrows at people. These arrows travel right through their skulls and out the other end. So of course, the random guy we see doubles over in pain because there’s an arrow lodged in his skull, while minus happily looks for her next victim, a woman. She gets shot through the stomach, freaks out, notices the man (who is still alive after all that) and the two instantly fall in love, and go off somewhere, even though they should probably be getting to a hospital a. s. a. p. So because minus means well, nobody is hurt, and she flies off, to shoot arrows everywhere, even at things that aren’t even alive. We have trees falling in love with cars, houses falling in love with each other, and a woman falling in love with a very suggestively drawn lamppost. Urgh… let’s just be glad that the strip ends here before anything else happens.

The twenty-fourth strip begins the way many of these strips do, with someone walking down the street. In this case, it’s minus. All of a sudden, this ugly garbage monster shows up from out of nowhere, and tells minus that she must face a set of trials. minus, being omnipotent, passes them easily. (So is this what she does when she’s bored?)

She goes along her merry way, and then another kid shows up, along the same path. This is not going to end well, is it? The garbage monster shows up and she screams in terror. Geez, minus, you could give someone a heart attack with that! And I should also point out that one of the trials is fighting a dragon. No one could pass that. Again, this is minus being blissfully unaware of the feelings of anyone else.

Now, the next strip is a rather momentous one, so I will save its review for Part 3.

Footnotes

1 Not to be confused with minus’s new friend from the last strip.

2 Again, it is a sign of his genius that this does not completely ruin the plot.

3 Apparently, minus has a thing for poetic justice. Who knew?

4 Wordlessly, but still, how?!

5 It’s a worker; I’m assuming it’s a she

6 Of course, this is never explored further.

7 Yes, I’ve noticed that there are a lot more female characters than male characters in this, even when they’re just extras. Maybe it’s because the main character is a girl, too? I don’t know.

8 And the face minus makes when she here’s of this is just hilarious. You know of the :0 emoticon? Yeah, she does that.

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  1. Custom Paper Writing Service on 13 December 2018, 10:37 said:

    Review part 2 is good and I would like to say good and excellent work has been done by you.