What would one do to find their own soul? In the world of machines, algorithms, and AI, we are asking the question of what is a soul and what is alive more, and more. I love stories that explore what is the spirit and what one would do if one didn’t have a soul to acquire one. Tim Seeley has had a gift for coming up with amazing concepts in the past, and this one might be his best yet.

The Book

Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Zulema Scotto Lavini
Colors: Valentina Cuomo
Letters: Maurizio Clausi
Publisher: Image Comics

Hexware One is an origin story. The main character is an android. She is a Which Ware model designed to serve. The family that bought her was into more of the magical side of things and was doing well until a suicide bomber gravely injures Jesminder, the oldest daughter. The family is broken and dispirited about the whole situation.

The android decides to do something about it. It begins researching occult ceremonies and studies the whole concept of what it means to be pagan. Then, once it was sure it was ready, it used a spell in one of the books to make a pact.

This changes the Which Ware. The thoughts inside were far less robotic and became something more resembling a human being. There’s a piece of humanity in the which ware, that now must hunt those who have done wrong by the spirits it made a pact with.

Pinocchio is referenced here deliberately by Seeley by Jeswinder, the girl that does right before the explosion, and man is this an accurate description. But it isn’t just a reference to the puppet who wanted to become a real boy. What kind of price are you willing to pay for a soul?

This is s a cool alchemy of science fiction, cyberpunk, and horror. Tim Seeley has outdone himself with an amazing concept here. I’m definitely intrigued by where he goes with this as his storytelling choices have been intriguing. For instance, the which ware does not apparently have a name. The question I have going into issue two is does the machine have a name? It feels, it has a personality and has grown and evolved. Does it have a name to match it?

The crowning touch to this is the reason why the which ware wants to do this. It’s something all of us can connect with, and I tip my hat to Seeley and company. It adds a perfectly human motivation. I’m curious where the journey of the Which Ware goes from here.

I have to acknowledge the talents of Zulema Scotto Lavini in this as well. The world created here is a perfect mixture of the near future and the horrific backgrounds of the series. Magic and mystery mesh perfectly with the near future cyber reality in front of us. The Which Ware has expression, and personality in the second half of the book that feels human, or at least on the journey, and that’s a credit to Lavini’s illustrations.

Valentina Cuomo’s colors add a great layer to the storytelling. The mystical feels mystical and the future feels like something from a science fiction novel. The colors add a nice depth to the illustrations Lavini provides here.

Special shout out to Maurizio Clausi for the letters in this issue, especially the thoughts of the Which Ware. It’s one of my favorite storytelling devices in the whole book. I love how the letter choices here reflect that both the machine and the new soul are intertwined and in conflict. It shows how far the character has come from the beginning, to where they are now.

So yeah, I like this book. It’s one of my favorites this year. Check it out.

The Business

Well, it’s been a lot busier than I expected it would be. I’ve been writing, directing and producing a show for a client that will be debuting in February on Youtube. Stay tuned to future columns to see when and where the show will debut. It’s been a heck of a challenge and has kept me away from the column board more than I wanted to. And away from the writing board too. Something I hope to remedy in the next few weeks.

Beyond that, it’s been a heck of a year of firsts for me. I got my first illustration credit, a short story published, two graphic novels off to different publishers wrote for magazines, and websites, and did a lot of different videos and production for companies and clients. To say I’ve evolved just by writing this brief outline of what I’ve done this year would be an understatement.

More is still to come. I crossed my 900th episode of the podcast. Right now the audio is at 895, but as it stands 902 episodes exist. I want to take a moment and thank each of my amazing guests. I’m hoping to be able to list some more announcements in regard to the podcast in the not-too-distant future. After 1000 (holy heck, that’s not that far away) episodes, I’ll be taking the podcast in a new and exciting direction. It’s been a crazy ride.

I hope you had an amazing 2022. For me, it was learning and discovery. In the future, I’m hoping to see where things go. As I said, I’m making my directing debut, and I’ve got my comic re-debut, my editing debut, and more to already come, and that’s not including the books I’m up to producing.

Here’s to an amazing 2023 for each and every one of you. Stay inspired, and keep going.

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