It is always a pleasure to find a comic that seeks to break boundaries with its storytelling. Weaker Sides by Falco “LifeMachine” Verholen does just that as it weaves its readers through the inner most thoughts of its characters in a surrealist fashion. Please be warned, this comic contains graphic content and sexual themes and is therefore not appropriate for younger readers.
The story follows Ashley, a nurse who finds a shapeshifter along the side of the road, covered in blood. But this is no ordinary shapeshifter: for some reason she is stuck with a human body and a deer head. Ashley tries to coax the mysterious woman to his place where he can take care of her wounds and together they embark on discovering the mystery behind her unusual form.
This story is not told linearly and Verholen makes it very clear there is no intention of letting the readers know when and where the story changes. Because of this, if you are in the mood for a more standard read then this is not the comic for you. Rather than focusing on plot, Verholen places all emphasis on the characters thoughts and feelings and leaves it up to the readers to decipher them. It’s a very emotional piece as you reflect on the characters’ motivations.
The artwork is mystifying. There’s a roughness to the line work that mirrors the raw nature of the story. In particular, Lady Doe’s eyes are truly windows to her soul. She can feel her despair, anger, everything just through her eyes. It’s like this in every panel she is in and is truly remarkable.
The use of mixed media adds to the surrealist nature of piece, however, these images can sometimes be a little too graphic for my taste. But these images add heavily to the tone and nature of the story, forcing the reader to focus more on the characters’ feelings rather than the actual plot.
If you’re looking for something that will force you to think and truly take in every panel, every word that is being written, then this is the comic for you. It’s not an easy to work to get through but, once you do, the reward makes it all worth it. And, since this story is a webcomic and readable for free, there’s no reason for you to ignore it.