A new Peter Bagge comic means one very excited me. The first issue of Reset had me expecting something totally different, yet still met a lot of my expectations. That makes sense, right? Okay, well, fine — I'll explain. You see, from my interview with Bagge I gathered that this would be a comic about a man reliving his life, and I assumed it would go the way most "let's go back in time" plots go, where the main character, Guy Krause (washed up comedian with an anger problem) would actually be able to alter his past, therefore changing his present. Not the case. At least that's not what seems to be going on so far…
Krause clearly has an anger problem. We meet him in the middle of a DUI class as the only guy in there that was arrested for road rage. We instantly get that Peter Bagge cynical, sarcastic nature that I love. Bagge is the master of making stories about people who kind of suck, but for some reason we still love them, and are able to relate to them on an almost scary level (well, at least in my case). Krause is obviously stubborn, but I like his anti-Hollywood attitude — for instance, resisting the pressure to have his own reality show which (he is told) is a great way to establish himself as a has=been celebrity and still get work.
It's at this DUI class that Krause is approached by Angela Minor, who I'm pretty sure is going to serve as a love interest of some sort, but also is the woman who convinces Krause to participate in her research project. She offers him money to relive every moment of his past, starting from his high school graduation. The reason for why this project exists is still not clear. Krause has his assumptions, but doesn't get a definitive answer.
Bagge's approach to creating a time machine is much more akin to a video game than it is to say, a flux capacitor. Krause sees his life through a virtual reality helmet, and the scene he starts off with is an evidently traumatic one, and Krause's different attempts at handling it over and over again (thanks to a handy "reset" button) are pretty funny.
The overall look of the comic is classic Bagge: black and white art, exaggerated body shapes, movements and facial expressions, with classic Bagge lettering. Occasionally Bagge will draw panels that are quite literally black and white, where character's bodies are inked completely in black, stripped of their defining features, against an empty white background. It's as if, for a brief instance, they are transported to another place and time, but then the scene quickly returns to normal.
Reset #1 is a great first issue that doesn't necessarily end on a cliffhanger but definitely left me wanting more. I won't say it's more promising than his other (earlier) works because it's not — at least not right now. I definitely sense its potential, though. You should read it for yourself; you'll see what I mean.
Alison Stevenson is a stand-up comic and writer living in Oakland, CA. She performs all over the bay area. She is also the creator of a soon to be released zine titled Neuropuddy. You can see clips of her performing, read other articles she's written, or contact her for some reason by visiting her website, nodancing.tumblr.com