Writer: Jeremy Sorese
Artist: Jeremy Sorese
Format: Graphic novel
Curveball is a fat book (no less than 420 pages). It’s a beautiful book. But it’s a baffling book.
The story is set in a society that was once totally dependent on robots but is now – thanks to energy shortages – being forced to adapt to life mostly off the grid.
Ambling through this sciencefiction setting is Avery, a waiter who remains romantically stuck on Christophe, a naval officer who is away at war – and has never showed any intention of committing to a relationship. Ultimately, it’s more a case of Avery self-indulgently mooning after something he secretly knows never was. When asked about Christophe’s obtuseness, he confesses: “I’m pretty guilty of enjoying not having my answer.”
Jeremy Sorese has written and drawn this intriguingly futuristic graphic novel. His world-building is admirable, particularly the digression into how the military has been transitioning into oldfangled analogue technology for code-breaking and navigation (“But what if you can’t find a pen, then what?!” moans one refusenik). But none of this seems to inform the main narrative. It just sits there alongside the human story. It makes for a rather disconnected reading experience.
This isn’t helped by Sorese’s cartooning. There’s no denying that his work is beautiful and detailed – it has the smooth kind of roughness of an animatic – but his story-telling is often confusing and it can be difficult to get the geography of any scene or grasp characters’ progression through it. In addition, he loves his dialogue. Protagonists are continually relaying anecdotes or verbalising their thoughts at length. In this already visually busy world, it just adds more clutter – a blur of chatter.
If anything, Curveball feels like a source book for something that could have great promise, if only it could just find its focus.
Curveball is beautiful but a tad baffling.