Ladies and Gentlemen, after a stint of unfavorable work travel, the flu, and a broken laptop; I’m back to bring you your next favorite webcomic! (hopefully) Please, if you have any feedback, leave it here in the comments or contact me on Twitter (@Sully_Writes). And as always, if you have or know of a webcomic that you’d like to see reviewed, reach out and let me know!
Summary: Decrypting Rita is a sci-fi adventure about robots and fantasy and most importantly, parallel worlds. It follows the titular character, Rita, the linchpin of these dimensions as stories unfold and then coalesce. The pages are presented in a continues format, where the user scrolls horizontally through the chapters.
Story: Decrypting Rita has a lot going on, but it introduces things in very manageable chunks. Worlds and concepts are added slowly, but still allow the reader to piece things together on their own. I cannot express (as a 90s/00s anime child) how much I enjoy this as a storytelling method, and typically, Decrypting Rita handles it very well. There are times when things become confusing, where too much technobabble appears at once. Overall though, those moments can be skimmed without missing the premise that it is building towards.
Characters, even outlandish types, are relatable and enjoyable to read; distinctive in their own ways. Dialogue is strong, if sometimes a bit too heavy. Scenes sometimes become muddled with words that have minimal importance. But… when the dialogue is good. It’s good.
Considering that it’s handling a handful of stories at once, Decrypting Rita does an amazing job and is a unique concept in and of itself. I cannot honestly say that I’ve read anything else like it. The true plot takes a bit of time to unfold, but it’s worth the wait.
Art: Egypt employs a very unique art style that pairs incredibly well with the format of the webcomic. Scenes for the parallel dimensions are primarily monochromatic, and use bold shapes to abstractly construct scenes and characters. In a way, it’s reminiscent of a more graphical design approach than it is traditional sequential art. This gives Decrypting Rita a unique atmosphere and a visually enjoyable feel that I have not yet stumbled across in comics.
The construction of pages is also quite distinct. The various stories, each reflecting one another in assorted ways as they play out in unison, would not work in any other format (I believe) than the continuous one that they are presented in. There is a printed version of the comic that I intend to get my hands on, because I’d love to know how well everything translated to the static page. Even the panels occasionally break out into very unique flows and arrangements. There is a quality of depth added to the overall story that is achieved wholly in the art, and that’s always something amazing to find in comics. To be honest, I haven’t seen a comic do this as well since Court of Owls (Scott Snyder; Greg Capullo) began spinning page orientations to show Batman’s confusion.
This is not to say that the artistic representation is always perfect. Occasionally, things become too abstract, and scenes take a second or two to break down, taking the reader out of the story. Sometimes the parallel lines become distracting. Additionally, action sequences are not this comic’s strongest point. But, in the end, the benefits of the stylistic choices outweigh the detriments.
Conclusion: In the end, sometimes Decrypting Rita’s greatest strengths also become its biggest weaknesses when used in excess. It’s not going to be for everyone. I’d recommend this comic to creator friends, people who truly can appreciate the experimental side of it. Aside from that, it’s such a different story, that it’s difficult for me to recommend who else might like it. Read it yourself and try to decide.