On a distant dying world, a band of pilgrims seek the legendary wizard Zyto. There are four among their band; the twins Shima and Anka, the wizened Obaz and the ever-hungry Raul. Shima and Anka, once astute philosophers, are now quite mad and burble to each other in a nonsense tongue. Obaz watches after them, but stays silent on his own reasons for seeking the wizard. Raul claims to have once been the most handsome and sophisticated of men, before a mutation or a curse transformed him into a half-man/half-pig creature. Raul hopes the wizard will have some means of curing him that doesn’t involve making ham.
Meanwhile, Lord Gucco – a fat lord who lives in opulence while the teaming masses struggle for survival in the arid wastelands just outside his palace – is in a state of panic. His last precognitive slave-creature has died, delivering a stirring warning of a man-pig’s approach bringing danger before breathing his last. The warning was enough to set Lord Gucco’s soldiers on high-alert, sending them out into the surrounding cities in search of this man-pig. Yet the dangers of the wasteland may kill Raul before Lord Gucco’s soldiers manage it.
My skepticism of Factory began when it was first described to me as “Mad Max meets Fallout in the nightmarish vision of life on a dystopian planet!” Given that Fallout itself was heavily inspired by, referenced and on-occasion parodied Mad Max, it did not inspire confidence – given the wide variety of post-apocalyptic fiction in existence – that whoever wrote this blurb could not think of any other dystopian worlds with which it might draw compare.
Having read Factory #1, I find myself similarly dumbfounded. The story and world design is so generic that I can scarcely think of any details with which I might narrow the field down to correlate it to a single story. Based on this first issue, Factory is less a story than a collection of tropes. This is problematic given that this is a three issue mini-series and nothing much has happened in the first issue beyond establishing its incredibly generic world. The background is a desert wasteland, the only safe source of food and water is that which is provided by Lord Gucco and the monsters are all misshapen mutants, though it’s hard to tell based on the artwork of Elgo just how misshapen they actually are.
The artwork in Factory is some of the most visually unappealing it has ever been my misfortune to encounter. Elgo’s artwork isn’t incompetently rendered but it is off-putting even in the scenes that aren’t depicting bloody fetus-like mutants or people being disemboweled by carnivorous trees. This is clearly by design but that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. Somehow, the artwork also manages to be incredibly bland despite a large amount of visceral imagery, with everything rendered in dull browns and off-whites.
All in all, I can’t recommend Factory save to the most enthusiastic of post-apocalyptic fiction fans. The artwork is incredibly unappealing. The story’s slow pace offers nothing to encourage readers to continue on to its second installment. Worst of all, it is just plain dull!
Factory#1 goes on sale on March 21, 2018. Reserve it now on Comixology.