Now, it’s a fortuitous coincidence that once again, the strip I am reviewing has a reputation. It opens with a shot of an observatory. Again, because it’s at night, everything is tinted blue. The astronomer looking through the telescope is horrified by what is seen. No words are necessary; his facial expression tells all. After checking to make sure that it’s not a fluke, he comes to the horrible realization that A HUGE ASTEROID IS ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH THE EARTH!1 Now, in real life, astronomers know about these sorts of events years before they happen, but Armand is using artistic license, and you will see why at the end of the strip.

So the governments of the world give a press conference saying that everyone is doomed and just to keep calm and wait for the end and stuff. The next few panels are once again wordless, showing people’s reactions, and including dialogue here would likely have ruined the gravity of the scene. There’s a family watching the news, and hugging each other in terror, some Chinese monks praying for a miracle, … and a UFO cult welcoming the damn thing with smiles on their faces.2 Even a strip as serious as this one has some levity.

Of course, there are the inevitable riots in the streets, too, but that’s not all. Another panel shows a young couple in a field, probably discussing their worries of what will happen to the other once the asteroid hits, and, heartwarmingly enough, a crowd of people in a city which has not had riots, all holding hands and waiting for the end with dignity. It’s really a poignant scene about how humans can work together in the face of tragedy.

The very last panel explains why the asteroid has arrived so quickly. minus is standing at the top of a mountain, defiantly holding a baseball bat, looking straight at the oncoming asteroid, and waiting for it to come within reach.

Now, in any other comic, that panel would be inspiring, but here there is just one problem. minus is all-powerful and probably summoned the asteroid there on purpose just so that she could hit the greatest home run of all time. But out of context, I could easily see that panel being used in a motivational poster (the serious kind, not the sarcastic kind that have proliferated with the Internet). After all, it depicts a child plucky enough to try to save the world with a baseball bat, because nobody told her it was impossible. And even bearing in mind what minus is capable of, to me it doesn’t make the scene any less poignant.

So of course, it’s onto the thirty-eighth strip, where all is well and nobody cares that they almost got killed by an asteroid. This comic’s episodic nature often results in things like that.

The scene is an amusement park, where we see minus, carrying a red balloon. Pay attention, this will be important later. She gets in line for the roller coaster, and of course uses her powers to lift everybody else away so that she’s the first in line. You know, I’m sure that a lot of people in her town really don’t like her, even if she saved them all from an asteroid.3 So minus goes on a bunch of rides all by herself, including the crane game attraction, and then leaves the park on her red balloon. But the strip is only halfway over; minus actually wasn’t the main character of this one. Her whole existence here was just to set up the punch line. Other than that, we just learn that she enjoys amusement parks like any other kid.

After she leaves, there is a panel containing only the crane game. A really young kid goes up to it and says she’s gonna win, by golly. Unfortunately for her, the moment the crane grabs her prize, it starts screaming in pain! Of course, the kid is really freaked out, and doesn’t win. The prize sighs relief that the crane is no longer grabbing it, and the kid’s face is just “oh my God, what did I do?” So after a beat panel, the kid bows to the crane machine, and says that she’s sorry. So, she’s Japanese? Well, she is drawn kind of like a manga character, though the comic itself is not drawn in that art style.

All in all, I guess the purpose of this strip was to show that people do get negatively affected by minus’s hijinks. It would not be at all fun to live in her area, and Armand acknowledges this.

The thirty-ninth strip stars some asshole hunter, dressed like a Victorian, on an African safari, shooting big game in defiance of the law. He tells his servant to bring the body back, and as the servant runs into the bushes, we see minus, in the distance, on her red balloon, flying by. She doesn’t actually land, though, and she only appears in that one panel. But that’s all that is needed. There’s a panel just of the hunter staring in the direction his servant went so that we know that time passes. Sometimes, something like that is needed in a comic, especially when a story is told largely without words. Anyway, the servant runs back with a pair of boxing gloves, which he gives to the hunter. Of course the hunter is perplexed, but he plays along, only to discover that he has to box the lion he shot. Turns out he was hunting endangered species, so nobody has any sympathy for him. All the animals are watching the scene and egging on the lion, and their expressions are just priceless. Even the lion’s prey, like rabbits and zebras, are cheering him on. Of course, the hunter’s servant is also a spectator, making an ass of himself.

So I guess minus cares about animals. She isn’t all bad, then. Just immature.

The fortieth opens with minus kind of sad. We never learn why, this is only to set up the main point of the strip. Some guy dressed like a vaudeville performer walks up to her, tells her that she should take life with a smile, and walks off. minus gives a very toothy grin, presumably just to get him to go away, because as soon as he does, she goes back to her normal expression. Good thing too, because that smile just looks creepy. It’s got More Teeth Than The Osmond Family, for Pete’s sake.

minus starts walking someplace, and when she meets someone else, she grins. This causes the person she meets to start doing it, and when he meets someone else, that person does it too, and so on and so forth like a chain letter gone horribly wrong. Soon the whole town is filled with smiling zombies that are creepy as hell, and minus flies off on her red balloon.

minus’s destination in the forty-first strip are some steep mountains, high enough to touch the sky, and which she probably rose herself, since they do not look anything like natural mountains. She’s scaling them straight up without any mountain climbing gear, and when she reaches the summit, a cloud starts talking to her. Apparently this cloud and minus are friends or something, and the cloud invites her over to see its friends. But minus is bored and turns down the invitation, and walks straight down the sheer face of the mountain. The cloud is lonely, and tells another cloud about what happened. Apparently they all love minus,4 so the second cloud tells the first cloud to go back and tell her they’ll be playing petanque. And now I’m laughing hysterically over the image of clouds playing lawn bowling. minus still doesn’t care though. (I guess she’s not into lawn bowling?) and walks away, losing her red balloon in the process. I guess Armand just wanted to get rid of it.

Now, there was really nothing to discuss in that mini-story arc, because really, it was just minus walking about, causing some weirdness with her powers, but that’s about it. I guess it’s supposed to show a typical day in her life or something, and it’s nice to look at, but not really conducive to writing a review. Fortunately, the forty-second strip remedies that problem.

The scene opens at a diner frequented by children. This may come off as a relic of a bygone era, but those places actually still exist, though the kids are always accompanied by their parents. But that’s not important, though it raises the question of why minus’s parents are always off-panel. But I digress.

The waitress asks a girl with glasses what she wants, and the girl orders a “super soft cream”, whatever that is. It’s probably ice cream, but for all we know, it could just be whipped topping. The waitress shows off some mad ninja skillz ™ and brings the bespectacled girl her order instantly, twirling on one leg for maximum showiness. It’s a shame the wait staff don’t do anything cool in real restaurants… but I’m digressing again. On another note, the bespectacled girl is so surprised that we actually see lines of surprise5 around her head, which is unusual for this comic.

Unfortunately for the kid, minus is sitting at the booth next to her, and notices her order. Once again, she displays her default surprised face ™. So minus, beaming like a lighthouse, asks the wait staff for a super soft cream. Unfortunately for her, her waiter is an old man who does not possess any mad ninja skillz. He can’t give her a super soft cream from Hammerspace like the waitress did, because apparently, the bespectacled girl got the last one!


minus is despondent, so she crawls over the booth and asks the bespectacled girl if she can have her ice cream. Of course her neighbor angrily refuses, I mean, that’s just expected. Why should she be forced to give up her super special awesome dessert?

minus thinks for a moment, and then, in the next panel, FALSE CAMERA EFFECT! She makes the whole panel Deliberately Monochrome and everything distorted, especially her own head, which now looks gigantic, particularly since she is staring down at the bespectacled girl. She asks again for the super special awesome soft cream, and her speech bubble is in boldface, suggesting reverberation. Of course the bespectacled girl gives up her dessert in terror, which minus goes to town on. minus spends three panels gesticulating about how delicious it is, in the manner of cartoons, with her hand over her heart and everything. Then, she stares at the empty bowl, and conjures another super soft cream from thin air. You mean to tell me she could have done that all along, and yet she still took it from the other kid? WHAT A JERK!

Of course the bespectacled girl is watching her, and minus is like… oh. Then she gives the other one to the girl, and everyone is happy.

minus comes off as one of those badly behaved kids that you just want to ignore, but then cause such a scene that you can’t ignore them. And yet, she remains likable.

The forty-third strip is another one that is completely silent, which is good for me because I can review it in like a few sentences. She turns herself into a mermaid and creates a whole underwater civilization in her bath tub, with fish and coral reefs and everything. She befriends one of the inhabitants, and they have some fun playing together. minus eventually leaves the tub, and we see her new friend react in horror as a giant hand reaches into the water, and pulls the bath plug! Cut to minus brushing her teeth. The entire underwater civilization is destroyed, and minus doesn’t even think to preserve it, even though she befriended one of the inhabitants. That’s just horrifying. There are rarely any more graphic indications of the fact that minus does not understand the consequences of her actions. And yes, this will be glossed over as soon as the strip is done.

The forty-fourth strip opens with minus reading a comic book, also called minus. How meta! Turns out, this is a superhero comic, in which a Captain Ersatz of Superman called Victory-Man saves the day from bad guys and the like. Being the impressionable child that she is, minus instantly rushes off to do this herself.

In the next panel, there is something that has not existed at all before. A caption. Specifically, one that says nothing but the word “meanwhile”. In this panel, we see people running and screaming in terror because a costumed supervillain is attacking people with tops. Yes, tops. As in, the child’s toy. He gives a cliché speech about being laughed out of the toy factory, before being confronted by minus, wearing a costume just like that of the hero Victory-Man. Of course, the villain, Top-man, throws some tops at her, but of course, she effortlessly destroys all of them and defeats him, all with written sound effects because this strip is a homage to superhero comics. The people all thank her, and she tries to recite the closing lines of Victory-Man’s speech, but is clearly nervous, and flubs it. She almost calls herself Victory-Man, even though she isn’t a man, much to the townsfolk’s confusion. The final panel is minus writing possible superhero names in a notebook, but rejecting them all.

You know, I think this strip is supposed to poke fun at how overpowered minus is, and how, if this comic did try to have a plot rather than just be Slice Of Life, she would be a total Sue who could just resolve the plot instantly, which is why this comic has to be Slice Of Life in order to work.

The forty-fifth strip is just weird. minus apparently has an act as a magician, and shows off her powers to an audience, on stage. She has an adult woman as an assistant, whom she slices in half lengthwise just by saying “Alakazam!” The next panel then cuts to the crowd, in shadow, who are dressed like people from Victorian England for some reason,6 and are understandably horrified. But not to worry, everybody, because minus rejoins the woman back together by saying “Abrakadabra”,7 and brings the woman back to life. She’s just fine, and everybody cheers. That’s a… different take on the whole “saw a woman in half” trick. I won’t count that as Comedic Sociopathy, because she clearly intended to bring the woman back.

The forty-sixth strip shows people fleeing a museum in terror. Why? Because minus brought a dinosaur to life, that’s why! I’ll count that as Comedic Sociopathy. Fortunately, the dinosaur is a sauropod and so only eats tree leaves. Thus, nobody gets hurt and it becomes an attraction for children. That museum will show up again in a later strip.

Unfortunately, I gotta cut it off here, because I don’t want to split up a story arc. Oh well, it was bound to happen eventually. Just stay tuned for part 5.


1 That is an exact quote; it just had to be used.

2 It’s quite nice that Armand is able to show that this group is welcoming the asteroid, without having them appear at any previous point.

3 Speaking of these people, I like how they’re all distinct, and not just the same person repeated over and over again in the background.

4 Suggesting that though she’s a jerk to people she doesn’t know, she’s nice if she’s your friend. Much like most children, really. She is every bit the typical child except for that one thing.

5 Or whatever those are called. You know, where in comics, they sometimes draw quadrilaterals radiating from someone to denote surprise?

6 I think Armand has a thing for that.

7 Was using that spelling an intentional Shout Out to Pokémon, I wonder?

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  1. Dissertation Proposal on 24 April 2018, 10:01 said:

    I think we need to wait till that time when actual truth comes in front of humanity and we are not a small pace of this huge universe.

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