I read quite a few webcomics. Around twenty, at the current count. One of them is The Conspiracy, which is written by my friend timmiboi. What follows is a review, of sorts.
Most consider video games to be harmless fun, an escape from the reality that drones on around you. But what if there was something more sinister behind game development?
Enter The Conspiracy.
For years, government officials have been looking for a way to cut costs in training its elite soldiers. They found it in VirtuaTech. VirtuaTech was privately funding its own training program, relying on virtual technology to create simulations, shortening training time, lowering expenses and preventing injuries. The officials approved and began funding the program.
For a while, the arrangement worked well. Training time was shortened, and the soldiers coming from the program were more highly skilled than their regularly-trained peers. Because of the controversial nature of the program, all subjects were assigned to a black ops group, kept hidden from the public eye.
But as time went on, problems arose. As the desired technology changed, fewer and fewer subjects were able to keep up. With poor results, VirtuaTech was in danger of losing funding.
VirtuaTech could not risk this. They had partnerships with governments around the world, and they had begun putting their programming into all sorts of games. And they chose to lower their moral standards. They wanted to create killing machines.
Now, new recruits are given the dirtiest of jobs with minimal information. But what happens when a recruit rebels? What if this recruit has a conscience?
The Conspiracy is, at its surface, the story about a young dog named Todd who has found himself in a bad situation. After bravely defending his friends from thieves during a bank hold up, he is approached by a mysterious party that wants to employ his skill with weapons. Oh, and they threaten him with death if he doesn’t comply.
He becomes a hit man. As the comic progresses, he is given various assignments, all resulting in the death of the target. But with each scenario, the pain builds. He was not created to murder. But where can he go? Surely he can’t tell anyone, and if he tries to escape, death is certain.
Todd leads a double life, keeping his darkest secret from his family and best friends. One day, though, the truth will be revealed, and what will be the reaction?
From a moral standpoint, the story is frequently disappointing. I suppose I shouldn’t expect a hit man to be a saint, but his chronic failure grates after a while. Under the tutelage of Lycan, the leader of his team, he chooses the way of the coward and kills an unarmed target. He hesitates, I will give him that, but in the end, he chooses darkness over light. He knows he is doing wrong.
However, recent events in the story indicate that we may be seeing a change in Todd’s character soon. I have been reading the comic hoping for this change, and it will be welcome when (if) it comes.
Very little has been seen of Josie, Todd’s girlfriend, to date, but her brief appearances suggest her to be the backbone of Todd’s conscience and moral compass. I will be looking forward to see what role she plays in the future.
The comic contains some language and considerable violence and is suitable for older teens. It can be found here.
(image drawn by timmiboi, initial text from his site)