Cubicles Review

By | Thursday, July 07, 2011 Leave a Comment
Cubicles is Red 5's latest offering in their "Digital First" line of titles. Unlike their previous/initial release, Bonnie Lass, this book is being presented as a single graphic novel. Given that Walter Ostlie's Cubicles is broken up into distinct chapters, I would presume it's being released as a graphic novel instead of four individual issues to avoid a drop-off effect.

The story is about Wally and Ost, two cubicle-jockeys in a giant mega-firm called, appropriately enough, Cubicles. They're what you might call layabouts, but they stumble on a plot by the CEO's future son-in-law to "take over the company and enslave countless worlds." So the son-in-law sends them off on a mission that's sure to get them captured by pirates or killed or both. After a few pencil fights, a giant space squid attack and some paperwork, they manage to save the day and bask in the glory of another spaceship's exhaust.

The book is definitely one of the more comedic ones I've seen from Red 5. While others might be light-hearted and fun, Cubicles is distinctly shooting more directly for comedy. For the most part, it is pretty amusing. The gags aren't always pitch-perfect in execution, but the never fall flat. And, given that this is, I believe, Ostlie's first published graphic novel, I think that's saying something.

The biggest issue I had with the book were the imaginary/dream sequences. They were rolled right in with the main story, and it wasn't as clear as it might've been that there were just daydreams. I mean, I like that they launched right into them as if it were really happening, but the reader has to rely on the dialogue to understand when the character snaps out of it. I think there might be a better way to clue in on that visually to show the dream sequences abruptly ending. To be fair, though, there was never any question that they were dream sequences; I just think the visuals could've spoken to that a little more.

Red 5 also happened to announce this week that the aforementioned Bonnie Lass will be getting the printed treatment in September, so between these two books, it looks as if their Digital First line might have a solid foundation as a platform for more and different ideas. Cubicles is available on the web, iOS and Android platforms via comiXology. The first chapter is available free and the entire graphic novel is $3.99.
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