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Dega
Oni Press

Comic Books

‘Dega’ review

An Oni Press-published sci-fi about one woman stranded in a mysterious alien world should be enticing.

There have been countless stories about people stranded in space or a deserted planet from the numerous versions of Lost in Space to Andy Weir’s The Martian. Often the challenge with these kinds of stories is how the writing and what ideas can bring to a narrative that could have its own identity. Of course, there have been comics that have followed this narrative, including Dan McDaid’s first graphic novel, Dega

From the first pages, Dega does something peculiar: it is no beginning and no end. Her ship crash-landed on the mysterious world “Dega”, our unnamed protagonist does her best to survive, whilst discovering the secrets hiding in the dark under the world. 

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Having done comics based on existing sci-fi IPs from Firefly to Doctor Who – the latter’s influence is very apparent as the reveal of Dega is lifted from one of the Doctor Who movies – this original piece by McDaid took five years to develop, as you can read from the production notes of the back of this edition. No doubt from an artistic standpoint, there are some stunning pages as our heroine is scrambling around for what tools she can manifest. With the survivor’s gadgetry having this tactile feel, the same could be said about the world of Dega itself. 

Whilst McDaid’s art isn’t the most polished, the grungy aesthetics fit well into this alien world where there are a variety of creatures to confront. As well as playing with coloring, which adds to the murkiness, there are a lot of pages where there is no color, which is used to depict what the night looks in Dega. Though experimental and interesting, these pages can be hard to follow due to the unpolished art. 

As the story starts by jumping right into the protagonist’s situation, there is never enough context about said situation. Though McDaid’s lean storytelling is intentional, just a bit more insight into our protagonist and her mission in Dega would have been appreciated. Although she does narrate throughout the book, it’s rather cold and even though we get glimpses of her psychology through surreal dream sequences, it is ultimately a failed attempt at establishing any themes of existentialism. 

Dega
‘Dega’ review
Dega
Stunning work from an artistic standpoint, but the emotionally cold narrative doesn't work wonders, even with its well-worn sci-fi premise.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Stunning artwork that showcases the tactile and murky sci-fi aesthetics of our female protagonist and the eponymous world...
...but there are pages that don't rely on color and can be hard to follow.
There is not enough depth, in terms of plot and characterization, to make this an emotionally engaging read.
4
Meh
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