Total Permanent Fatal Shutdown

Goats was a comic that I had heard about on numerous occasions before finally getting around to seeing what all the fuss was about, and finding myself surprised that I enjoyed it. Zany antics, some decent character interaction, and a nice evolving art style that was enjoyably active, made for a combination that really grabbed hold of me.

It’s come a long way from where it started, and has recently been undergoing some intense changes, both in the characters and the nature of the strip itself. Much of the past year has been taken up by one storyline – Infinite Typewriters. This is a deep and complex story arc that seems to have intense, lasting implications for the characters. Drama rears its ugly head. Characters are placed at bitter odds with each other, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Goats will never be the same again.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved Infinite Typewriters. There has been a slew of interesting concepts throughout this plot that have really engaged me, while the strip still continues to consistently deliver its somewhat absurdist humor. It features my favorite character in the strip, Fineas. It does some remarkable things with other characters, including the change of Diablo the Chicken from the crazy psycho who stirs up trouble in the strip, to the sole remaining voice of reason.

There are great scenes throughout the entire arc – The Lords of Death, the confrontation between Fish and Fineas, the pub stub. All great moments, all the sort of things that were leading me to really crazing on Infinite Typewriters, and eagerly checking each new strip. And it got to the conclusion of the story arc and… and…

And, by and large, I was letdown. Some adversaries were disposed of in an almost offhand fashion, as Toothgnip the Goat and his alien minions are simply portaled away to parts unknown. Oliver and his minions are similarly removed from the picture.

The moment of climax that the story seemed to be building up to was almost casually defused. And suddenly an even more looming threat appears – the universe is unstable. It is threatened by Total Permanent Fatal Shutdown. ‘The Programmer’ must be found to save things, and suddenly all manner of other random characters are popping into the picture in pursuit of unknown ends, and more questions arise than answers. And less than a month after Oliver was banished away – one of the few real resolutions thus far – he is being retrieved.

And, well… I can’t say I’m unhappy with the strip. Even throughout all the crisis going on, the jokes are still funny, the characters are still lively. The most recent strip is a great example of this – “There is no amount of sarcasm that will allow me to adequately express just how terrible this plan is.” I mean, that’s a great line. It’s simply perfect punctuation for the strip, the sort of thing I can really groove on. So the strip is still good, sure.

And yet, you see my hesitance. Long, involved stories are a good thing, but a climax has to come eventually. Perhaps the fault is mine, for expecting the build-up at the end of Infinite Typewriters to result in such a climax. But on some level, only so much build-up and anticipation can be endured before things need to reach some level of closure. And with so many open-ended questions being added into the picture, I am unsure how long this plot will continue, and whether it will continue to be able to sustain itself as it goes.

I’m not going away, of course. The strip still has a lot to keep me there, and keep me enjoying parts of it. But the anticipation I was feeling over the storyline is starting to fester, and turn more into tedious expectation. And I don’t want that to be the way I’m looking at this story I’ve been enjoying.

So I’m going to stick with it, and see what happens – and it might be that things become clearer and quicker, and I get pulled back in kicking and screaming.

Nothing to do at this point, but wait and see what Rosenberg is going to come up with next.

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