Centralia 2050, written by Michelle Stanford, starts immediately strong as you and the comic’s protagonist Midori are dropped into the strange metropolis city of Centralia. With no memory of who she is or how she got there, Midori latches on to the faint memory of a girl she swears she’s knows, vowing to find her.
The first few chapters don’t do much in way of developing the overall plot; but what it excels at is introducing and developing characters with it’s great artstyle, funny and interesting writing, and circumstances interesting enough to give the entire thing a slight backdrop of mystery.
The Mystery Begins: Find That Girl!
Centralia 2050’s opening is one of my favorite things as, not only does it feel like your starting in media res without actually doing so, it lends a whole air of confusion to the rest of the comic.
Midori wakes up in the middle of Centralia after hearing the voice of a young girl who she then sees standing in front of her. After following her only to be ambushed by several spider-like machines, a man named Grey finds and offers to assist in light of her predicament. This eventually leads to the finding of a two-year-old missing persons flyer depicting none other than the girl Midori saw earlier.
From then on Midori and Grey set out to find the missing girl, Midori assuring herself of the girls importance to her past.
Midori and Grey: The Stars of the Show!
The plot continues from there and with what I found to be a rather interesting story. Things start to go deeper later on, but I’m afraid that might fall into spoiler territory; so just know that, at least so far, the story contains some cool ideas that I really hope are explored to their fullest.
Now, what I really want to talk about are the main characters. I just find them so genuinely likable! Midori and Grey have a really nice dynamic between them that thankfully doesn’t fall in the trap of feeling fake or overly cliche. They both have great personalities that feel fun and relaxed even in more serious situations.
I loved the way Grey almost seemed like a brooding edgelord but never fell into being one. Instead he came off as someone who knew too much about the city of Centralia and understood the issues there. Midori’s lighthearted, tough-girl nature clashes perfectly with Grey’s as he silently puts up with her annoyances. It all comes together really well, but trying to explain why doesn’t really do. It’s more the subtle things that I like, as compared to what’s easily mention-able. Slight expressions and attitude changes make these characters feel more real than you might expect.
-And if there’s anything that’s brings the characters to life it’s the way they converse, and I have to say – I really enjoy the way they converse.
Good Writing Goes a Long Way…
All of the conversations Centralia 2050 feel natural. There’s none of the forced comedy or stilted speaking that comes from trying to maintain a character’s archetype.
When there was comedy it always felt natural and spur-of-the-moment, like the sort of thing you actually see from a real conversation. The banter between the two protagonists was entertaining thanks to this; as well as some great writing, pacing, and art direction that really captures the personalities of the characters.
Its likely not something you’ll notice that much. I mean, talking “normally” isn’t usually an impressive feat; but in a world where media tends to forget what humans actually sound like, It’s always nice to see someone do it right.
It’s more the back and forth of the characters than it is what their saying anyway, though that certainly contributes. The arrangement of panels does an especially great job in keeping the flow of speech going; making sure you bounce your eyes from bubble to bubble in a way that feels natural. Loved it, great stuff.
…and So Does Great Art
I’m a real stickler for art-styles, and can get a bit nitpicky when talking about them; but I really think Centralia 2050 looks super cool.
All of the characters are expressive and detailed, only adding to their likable personalities. Backgrounds are always as detailed as they need to be; and never feel cluttered as if the artist tried to pack too much into a single seen. I really can’t think of any actual negatives when it comes to the way this comic looks.
It sorta has a problem with conveying motion; as things that you’d think would have some oomph to them just kinda transition from still shot to still shot. I would’ve liked to see things clearly meant to be going fast to look like they were going fast; but, if I’m being honest, it barely even came up so – free pass.
Other than that, I think it looked great the whole way through. Panels were arranged well, and had some great transitions between them. A real treat for the eyes in my humble opinion.
Awaiting the Rest of The Series!
Yea, that’s it! I really enjoyed Centralia 2050, not much else to say. Though, the plot itself didn’t see too much advancing in the chapters so far; it was interesting enough to have it’s topics, at least a bit, stuck in my mind.
If you want some light intrigue and likable characters in a semi-futuristic setting, give Centralia 2050 a read. I thought it was just swell.