HEXWARE is an intriguing Pinocchio tale for an age of wizarding AI (Review) | Pretty Reel

An AI tale with a pagan twist, Hexware #1 already asks the big questions: who deserves a soul, and how far will it go to feel “real”?

Hexware #1 is Image Comics’ latest sci-fi offering, but this time with a twist of fantasy. Like many AI tales, this first issue already asks the big questions: who deserves a soul, and how far will it go to feel “real”?

Hexware joins a long line of AI-centric stories that contemplate exactly what would happen if artificial intelligence really started gaining — or, in this case, desiring — sentience. Described by Image as “a dark mix of sorcery and sci-fi”, Hexware promises to add an almost pagan element to this classic AI tale, as the story follows Android’s “Which-Where” android. a wealthy family as they attempt to buy a new soul from a sketchy source: the devil. In this futuristic world of heightened class inequality, “the solitary populace is drawn to neo-spiritualism and the magic of hedgerows.” Including, apparently, the androids of the ruling corporate class.

The first issue of Hexware, by Tim Seeley, Zulema Scotto Lavina, Valentina Cuomo and Maurizio Clausi, uses a “then and now” structure to introduce the reader to the main character: a “Which-Where” android who seems to be trying to become more human. . The issue’s “now” segments explore the android’s attempts to experience the world at street level, seemingly on her own, using her emotions and senses rather than facts and data. The “then” scenario shows the reader how the “Which-Where” got to this point: a politically motivated bombing killed the daughter of the android’s wealthy family, Jesi. When the grief-stricken parents attempt to silence her, the android resists, instead seeking pagan texts in order to win a soul. She eventually communicates with a devil, who tells her where he’ll sell her a soul – if she runs terrifying, bounty hunter-like errands on his behalf. The issue ends with the implication that it was the deceased girl’s soul that the android claimed.

Hexware successfully combines AI philosophy with pagan aesthetics

This new series picks up on the classic Pinocchio tale – will the android become a ‘real girl’? – and adds a super fun twist in the form of these mixed genre elements. Despite the sometimes confusing pace as the story jumps through time, the charming sorcery of this first issue keeps the reader engaged and delighted, especially as this pagan iconography is applied in a futuristic setting. It will never be fun to see an android wearing a classic witch hat. Scotto Lavina’s art stands out in this regard, full of momentum and pathos, as well as horrifying demons. The action sequences at the end of this first issue are the real highlight, and hopefully the action will only pick up as the series continues.

Hexware is perfect for fans of science fiction, fantasy, and even tales of power and class disparity. The book balances a good handful of genres and thematic elements, and so far the juggling is spectacular (as well as the artistry). If the team behind Hexware can keep all those balls in the air, this new Pinocchio tale from Image Comics could be a philosophically poignant and utterly charming hit.

Discover Hexware #1, available now from Image Comics!

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HEXWARE is an intriguing Pinocchio tale for an age of wizarding AI (Review) | Pretty Reel

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