blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Red Room: Trigger Warnings (2022) #3

Red Room Trigger Warnings  3

Technically, this issue’s outstanding. Creator Ed Piskor takes Trigger Warnings somewhere unpredictable and incredibly thoroughly realizes it.

But as a story, it’s all about the punchline, and it’s a long, long time to get to the punchline, going through an entirely unnecessary flashback to a supporting character. Now, the supporting character’s essential, the comic opens with him—specifically with the protagonist killing him. See, the supporting guy—Dustin—has a flash drive worth $400 million, and the protagonist, Rex, is ostensibly going to help him get it unlocked.

It’s a BitCoin thing. Dustin was a pizza store clerk who comped a customer pies in exchange for the BitCoins back when it wasn’t worth anything. Then he lost the password and can’t be a hundred millionaire without it. Enter Rex, who says he’ll help Dustin decrypt it; they just need to go on his yacht to a tropical island where his former business partner lives.

Piskor takes an engaging stroll through BitCoin culture (and its effects on the greater culture). Still, since the issue opens with Rex blowing Dustin away… it seems like Dustin-related flashbacks might not be too crucial to the overall story. Especially not once it turns out Rex’s friend, Satoshi, rules the tropical island as a man-god, like a late nineteenth-century British daydream. Satoshi and his followers don’t need BitCoins the way Rex thinks they do, especially not since they stream their human sacrifices to a Red Room.

Where commenters are impressed with the production values of the ancient Polynesian temples.

The story’s more “set in the Red Room universe” than a Red Room story (at least how Piskor’s defined them over the last six issues), and he makes lots of off-hand remarks about big things, but since they’re one-liners, he doesn’t take any responsibility for them. It’s the first time he’s tried to be buzzy with Red Room. Hard pass.

It’s a solid issue, obviously. Piskor’s really good at his job. It’s just not the level he usually reaches. And the ending’s funny, just slight.

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