Review: ‘Strange Attractors’
What if you found the world around you was tightly interwoven, and that even the smallest tasks could have major consequences? What if you found out those small tasks help to keep that system running smoothly? Now, what if you found out there’s only one person keeping everything running? That’s the intriguing premise of Strange Attractors, a new graphic novel from Archaia Entertainment written by Charles Soule with art by Greg Scott.
In Strange Attractors, Heller Wilson is majoring in mathematics, and needs an original idea for his graduate thesis. During his search, he uncovers the works of former Columbia University professor Dr. Spencer Brownfield. Intrigued by Dr. Brownfield’s works, Heller decides to seek him out, and their meeting changes Heller’s life forever.
Dr. Brownfield teaches Heller about his theory of complex systems, and shows him that New York City is a complex system. If a calculated task is performed at the right time, it can affect the system similarly to the butterfly effect. As Heller learns more about Dr. Brownfield and his theory, the city begins to break down around them. Not only could Dr. Brownfield be right, but they might be the only people who can stop it.
Strange Attractors is an original concept, with an engaging story. With so much detail put into New York City, it’s obvious how much love Soule has for it. Even a simple discussion Heller has with a DJ friend about how New York City is the greatest music city in the world could’ve only been written by a lover of music and the city itself. All of the characters are fleshed out – especially the dynamic between Heller and Dr. Brownfield – keeping the reader interested in each person.
Greg Scott’s artwork makes the city look alive. He delivers a realistic look to all the characters. The graphic novel reads like a movie from panel angles to story progression. These plot devises you could actually see going to the big screen.
Strange Attractors slows to a crawl when covering the complex system theory basics. I lost my interest several times, not in the jargon of how the system works, but from the pacing of the story. Strange Attractors wastes too much time on the buildup of Heller learning about the theory so much that it becomes a little boring. The ending is a little underwhelming, as well.
The Final Verdict
Strange Attractors is an interesting tale that lags at times, but its original style and insight into New York City makes it well worth a read.