Rainbow Bridge To The Hyperverse : William Cardini’s “Reluctant Oracle” #1

Coming headfirst and headstrong at readers in full, blazing, at times even explosive color, WIlliam Cardini’s latest self-published foray into the extra-dimensional ideascape that is his Hyperverse, Reluctant Oracle #1, not only appears to be the opening salvo in what could very well be a “proper” series, it may also portend the next developmental stage of the concept itself — one where, for lack of a better term, the ‘verse and its denizens might just be on the verge of growing up.

Which is a weird thing to say when we’re talking about a realm populated by ancient wizards, immortal monsters, and giant robots — the latter of which is our protagonist in this latest adventure — but nevertheless, it’s true. When a person thinks of Cardini’s work, phrases like “mind-blowing,” “highly imaginative,” and “far fucking out” come to mind, of course, but “emotionally resonant” and “thematically complex,” maybe not so much — until now. Prepare, then, for a hyper-space jump — into the realm of unbridled emotional longing?

Reduced to being a severed metallic head dishing out prophecies for ungrateful locals, our “guy” Mim yearns to both find his lost love and to traverse the interstitial and interstellar rainbow highway that is the Bifrost, but that’s pretty tough to do without, ya know, a body. When potential help arrives in the form of an unscrupulous transactional would-be “ally” he’s really got no choice but to accept the offer, but a bargain made with The Floating Crystal Witch tends to be a one-way transaction, and it’s going to take all the cunning and guile Mim has programmed into his circuits to make sure that one way cuts his way. It’s a skeletal enough plot, sure, but one with a kind of universality at its core, especially for anybody stuck with pesky things like responsibilities in their life.

Which isn’t to say that Cardini is turning into a square on us or anything — his vibrant art is as high-octane as ever, his self-aware exploitation of “trippy” sci-fi tropes taken to logical and illogical extremes as keenly on-target as we’re accustomed to. But there’s an added dimension of, dare I say, realism — at least on a thematic level — at play here that might could very well make this his most satisfying work to date, and that’s no small feat.

In a manner not at all dissimilar to Kirby, an artist to whom I’ve compared Cardini in the past, this is one of those comics that is equally at home in the stars as it is in the human heart, and speaks to the wonder and mystery of both. That, again, is certainly no small feat, but that it manages to do without once coming off as heavy-handed, morose, or even anything less or other than a bad-ass exploration of cosmic forces is a wonderful bit of artistic sleight-of-hand that is as viscerally impressive as it is conceptually clever. At the end of the day Cardini is still out to “wow” you, but he’s not content to merely do so by dint of bombast alone.
Still, it wouldn’t be a Cardini comic if its metaphorical decibel levels weren’t cranked up good and high, it’s just that he manages to blast the volume without resorting to a battle for all the stakes this time around. Indeed, there’s no real cosmos-shattering duel of magical powers to be found in these pages — but there is a hell of a lot of comic book magic all the same. I’m definitely following this rainbow road wherever it leads.

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Reluctant Oracle #1 is available for $12.00 from William Cardini at https://hypercastle.bigcartel.com/product/reluctant-oracle-1

Also, this review — and all others around these parts — is “brought to you” by my Patreon site, where I serve up exclusive thrice-weekly rants and ramblings on the worlds of comics, films, television, literature, and politics for as little as a dollar a month. Subscribing is the best way to support my continuing work, so I’d be very appreciative if you’d take a moment to give a look directing your kind attention to https://www.patreon.com/fourcolorapocalypse

3 thoughts on “Rainbow Bridge To The Hyperverse : William Cardini’s “Reluctant Oracle” #1

  1. Pingback: Like Tears In Rain – This Week’s Links - Avada Classic Shop

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