VR allows us to experience the world in a completely new fashion. Unlike the past where places you'd never traveled were available only in photographs, or movies, now you can feel like you're actually there from within VR experiences. So it makes sense that comic books aren't exempt from that. Magnetique brings you inside the comic so that you can look around and feel like you are actually inside the story instead of reading it off of a page, and we've got all the details.
Colors of emotion
One of the first things that you'll notice in Magnetique issue 1, is the art style. It's full of dramatic colors that help to translate the emotion behind the story before you ever read a single speech bubble. When it opens you'll be surrounded by fleeing people. You can see the horror and fear clear on their faces.
One of the most awesome features is how the artists have put you right in the middle of everything. You can look around and see little details like the village up on the mountainside, or the area you just came from. These little details make everything come alive in a way that just isn't possible when reading a paper comic in your hands.
The music selection also really amps up the emotion in each frame. These selections change with each frame, and you can tell that they've been specifically chosen to heighten the atmosphere that you're feeling. From quiet waves in the distance, to planes in the air, to the ominous tones that start the comic out. Each one works magnificently and makes the experience far more immersive.
In the aftermath
For now, Magnetique is extremely brief. This is after all, only issue one of a new comic series. You do get a feel that this isn't really going to be a happy series, though in all fairness, what comic books are happy? They've taken a medium which you don't generally interact with, and added a tweak or two that brings it to the next level.
We already mentioned the fact that it's 360 degrees, and that definitely can't be overstated. Looking all around you lets you see a breadth of vision and pick up small clues about what you're seeing, that are absent in physical media. What would usually take three to five panels to achieve can be done in a single frame in VR.
For the most part, there isn't much to interact with. You can drop out of the comic by pressing your back button, and navigate between frames by swiping your touchpad. There is a small tweak that makes a serious difference. By focusing on the speech bubbles, they will pop up and become a bit larger, which makes them easier to read.
It's worth saying that I had no issues reading them even without them popping up. However they were a bit easier to read, and a fair bit clearer. So if you're going without glasses in VR, this can make a serious difference in the clarity of what you are seeing.
Building a community
While Magnetique shows some real promise, it's only a few screens long. Thankfully it seems like the developers are currently working on the second issue. Not only that, but they're also sharing the details of exactly how you would make a 3D comic. If you're an artist, or a writer, who might be interested in that sort of thing, they give you an email in the final screen.
Comics in VR take advantage of blending two fantastic things together. Magnetique does an excellent job of delivering an experience that I hadn't even thought of before. I'm just hoping that there is plenty more to come. You can take a peek at it now for absolutely free on the Oculus store.
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