Graphic Novel Review: Chester 5000 XYV Vol. 2 by Jess Fink

 
 
Before he created Chester 5000, Robert worked at a foundry with George, and the two of them became fast friends while working together on new inventions. But between work stress, dangerous inventions, sexuality questions, overbearing orphanage mothers, and greedy bosses, what will happen to George and Isabelle's new marriage and Robert and Priscilla's struggling one? (This volume covers events from before and after Volume 1.)
 

 
Graphic Novel Review: Chester 5000 XYV Vol. 2 by Jess Fink | reading, graphic novel review, webcomics, science fiction, sci-fi romance, steampunk, erotica, lgbt
Title: Chester 5000 XYV Vol. 2
Author:
Book Number: Volume 2
Pages: 182
My Book Rating:
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher, Webcomic
 

Review:

This volume went in all sorts of directions I wasn’t expecting! I hadn’t been made this emotional by a book in months! Seriously, I’m just giving this all the stars because I was bouncing around in my seat, bursting with so many different emotions while reading: sad, happy, worried, excited, heartbroken, swooning—I was all over the place! This comic doesn’t even have words, and I freaking cried. It was so not what I was expecting after the first volume, which was basically a silly steampunk porno.

But before I get there, I’ve a few things to mention. First of all, this book is named “Isabelle & George” but, in my opinion, it was mostly about Robert. I mean it—if you didn’t love Vol. 1 but did love Robert and are wondering whether or not to read this one, READ IT. Second, it’s meant to be (and definitely should be) read after Chester 5000 XYV Vol. 1 since it functions like a prequel and a sequel; the timeline got confusing for a few pages when it was transitioning over the events of Vol. 1, but, on the artist’s site, she explains in the notes (the part after “6 months later” takes place during Vol. 1, and the part after “3 weeks later” takes place after Vol. 1). Third, this one was significantly less porn and more story (though still some porn, so do expect some explicit pages). Fourth, something great about both these books is how they they’re inclusive of so many different sexual pairings (M/F, M/M, F/F/M, M/M/F, solo M, solo F, hell, one character is a robot, so toss an R in there somewhere too).

But what really took me by surprise wasn’t any of that, it was how much emotion and depth and even plot there was. This added a lot of depth to the characters by showing us the backstory for them and for all the events in Vol. 1, and it made me sympathize with everyone more. In Vol. 1, Priscilla seemed like all she wanted was sex all the time, whereas in this one, I could understand why she wasn’t satisfied with Robert. In Vol. 1, Robert was mostly portrayed as an unhappy workaholic, whereas in this one, it was nice to see a side of him that was happier and more carefree at times, but I also felt bad for him because of all the pressure he was under at work and because of his sexuality crisis. *SPOILER* I WAS SHIPPING ROBERT AND GEORGE SO HARD. I literally said, “Awwwwww!” out loud when they finally kissed. Even though I probably shouldn’t have since they were both cheating on their wives. Oops. But guys, they were just so adorable (and fictional) that I couldn’t bring myself to care, as bad as that sounds. *END SPOILER*

*IMAGE SPOILER*
Robert and George almost kissing and being freaking adorable

And then, ugh, I knew what was coming because of Vol. 1, but it still hit me in the feels. I literally had like three whole tears fall down my face, which, for me, is a lot since I don’t cry from books. And then I felt even worse for Robert and understood why he pushed Priscilla away. But actually, the artist did a good job of showing the grief/loneliness/emotion of all the different characters for their various different reasons. But then all the sudden, when it got to the part that took place after Vol. 1, more things started happening, and I was totally on the edge of my seat wondering where the story would go. THERE WAS EVEN MURDER. Well, not really, but kinda. Maybe, actually. *SPOILER* Also, George was fucking badass. But also a lovable sweetheart. No wonder both Isabelle and Robert fell for him. And he totally looked like a pirate in that one panel with his eye patch and missing arm and the way he was drinking alcohol straight from the bottle, which isn’t really relevant but is something I felt like mentioning nonetheless. *END SPOILER*

Also, I felt kinda unsure about the ending of the first book *SPOILER (for Volume 1)* because I thought it might’ve been better for Robert and Priscilla to work things out, but this made it even more clear that they weren’t right for each other, *END SPOILER* and the ending of this one made me feel so much happier about how things turned out.

One last thing, I think it’s so neat how the artist was able to convey so much without using any dialogue. I was a little unclear on the details of some of the more complex things (like the contract that was signed), but it all made sense eventually, and the thoughts/feelings of the characters were always so clear. The lack of words forced me to focus more on the drawings, and the author really used the visual medium to her advantage since there was no dialogue to rely on. And I totally found myself making up my own dialogue in my head sometimes lol.

So yeah, this is a little gem of a comic, and I’ve already bought myself a physical copy because that’s just how much I loved the characters and story and artwork. Overall, this was maybe a little silly and not particularly realistic but still emotional and sweet and fun and beautifully illustrated in a stylistic kind of way and I ADORED it!

*Note: The artwork in the physical copy is black and white rather than purple-ish.*

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Book Blurb

1889: an age of industrial revolution and sexual frustration. Isabelle is a lonely orphan, reprimanded at every turn by her strict matron. George is an inventor on the cusp of a brilliant discovery. Together they find love, but in an age of violent mechanization and military secrets, can their passion survive?

Basic Info

Book Author:
Publisher:
Series:
Genre: , , , , , ,
My Book Rating:
Series/Standalone:
Setting Location:

More Info (Possible Spoilers)

Sexual Orientation: ,
Romance Type: , ,
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Extra Love: , ,

Warnings

Sex:
Violence:
Strong Language:

 
 

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  1. Greg

    “toss an R in there too” lol. That made me laugh. And ah more insight into Robert / Priscill and their “problem”. Nice. Glad to hear the emotional aspect was where it really worked though- sounds like a big step up from the first one story- wise. And it takes talent to tell a story with no dialogue.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m glad I crack someone up, haha. Yes, it was definitely a huge step up with the story and the emotion! And it’s still kind of amazes me how she was able to portray so much without dialogue.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve started to really enjoy graphic novels ever since I tried them a couple years ago. They can be really great, you just have to find ones with artwork that you like!

  2. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    You said vol 2 was better and it really sounds like it is. Glad to hear you get more background and things improved in the story. I mean, it definitely sounds like you get more story in this one, which is brilliant. I think it’s so impressive getting emotions and story across without using any dialogue. It’s certainly impressive and that’s what intrigues me.

    Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity recently posted: Sunday Summary // 02.07.2017

    1. Kristen Burns

      It really was! That’s why I didn’t want to turn people away with my review of volume 1, because it’s so worth it. And I really is impressive to portray so much without words.

  3. Lola

    Wow that’s an awesome you enjoyed this one so much. I am impressed by how this book made you feel so many emotions while it doesn’t even has words, makes me very curious about how the author handles that. It does sound that without the text the images get even more important. I like how you included a picture as it gives me a bit of a feel for what the comic is like.

    The first book sounded good, but this one sounds like it takes the story to a whole new level. It does sound like a great comic and neat how it blends so many genres. I might give this series a try sometime :).

    Lola recently posted: Sunday Post #237

    1. Kristen Burns

      I was impressed too! If you don’t mind graphic images, you should totally give this one a try. You can always just check out what it looks like online with no risk since it’s a webcomic.