Story: Jeremy Holt
Art: George Schall
Lettering: Adam Wollet
By the end of issue #3 I am left wondering – what is Made In Korea actually about? I thought I had a handle on the themes but they seem to be shifting around. The story I want to read is about two parents and their synthetic child but we also appear to have teenage terrorists? Planning an attack after a robbery? There’s a lot here I am struggling to make sense of to be quite honest.
Jesse has made some friends and by friends we mean outcasts who are basically using her. They read very much like the sort who would initiate a high school shooting because they feel the rest of the world has wronged them for… reasons.
What I don’t get is that she’s completely unwilling to engage with her parents. Or that her parents don’t attempt to engage with her. They yell at each other, Jesse runs to her room and that repeats. Like what even? Why aren’t her parents asking questions about the school? Why are they not talking to Jesse’s teachers? Why aren’t they talking to Jesse? We don’t get a single scene where either of her parents go up to her room after the gig argument/storming off and ask how she is. She might lie t them but ultimately that’s what parents should be doing. Its what I would have thought at least Suelynn would have attempted but we never get a scene like that.
Teenagers get involved in bad things and their parents can’t do anything about it but Jesse is not a teenager. Or is she? She ends the issue having cut her hair and run away and her parents are shocked soooo…. she is a rebellious teenager? Even though initially she read as pre-teen.
There was such a potential for nature versus nurture for seeing Jesse develop. What makes a child human? We’ve not seen her really question anything, just blindly go along with her new friends and take their word for granted. Jesse is rebelling but ironically it feels like she’s losing her agency at the same time We’re not given enough of her point of view. Here’s a quick scene where she’s upset about only having these friends but it doesn’t delve any deeper. It doesn’t tell us what’s driving her aside from – she wants friends? We get more of the creepy friends motives than Jesse’s as he just blindly believes everything they say and goes along with what they want.
The relationship between her and her parents is left behind. There are moments where we have Suelynn show her emotion to show she believes Jesse is her daughter but where are the discussion between her and Bill? We only ever get Suelynn telling other characters how she feels about Jesse. They barely interact. It’s almost as if Suelynn’s emotions herself are just there for plot motions.
Oh and Chul is still out to retrieve Jesse which is a plotline I wasn’t fond of last time. As it develops here I am still not fond of it. What is the purpose of this bit? It really seems to exit for a coupe of scene of Suelynn shouting.
I just… I liked the first issue, I wasn’t too keen on the second but feel like the third has lost me with the story it is trying to tell. I love AI learns to be human or wants to be human stories and tropes. I adore them. But this.. I do not understand what this is. Maybe I am missing something, I probably am but at the end of the day I just cannot get past the fact I don’t know what this book wants me to think or feel. I don’t know what it’s trying to say.