Over the last year, the computer gamer comic Critical Miss has been descending into madness (in-between its usual periodic side-steps commenting on the latest computer and console games) with its primary protagonist, video game reviewer Erin Stout, suffering from hallucinations after she was involved in an automobile accident. As with all stories, this storyline finally wrapped up after Erin’s confrontation with Link (though she didn’t know who he was). Sadly, it almost seems like Cory Rydell and Grey Carter are going that classic sitcom route of resetting things so that there are no lasting consequences between storylines. Of course, seeing that there have been other strips without Erin’s cadre of gaming characters urging her to listen to them, it could be that Erin is still nuts and we’re just not witnessing the meta-aspect of Erin’s “game-head-space” for the moment.
It’s too early to guess if Rydell and Carter have taken a Labor Day holiday and providing us with a glimpse of some of Erin’s classic wackiness, as I’m hoping is the case. I will be extremely disappointed if Erin “got better” from a significant mental impairment through sheer mental willpower. Sure, this is a comedic comic, but you don’t just retcon out a year-long storyline and hand-wave away mental illness. I mean, we not only have Erin pushing by the guy who threw her out of his house sans pants, but she then pulls a knife on a new worker. For that matter, wouldn’t it be interesting if the girl with the octopus hat had been hired to replace Erin (who has been suffering from psychosis for a number of weeks in the story-world)… and her knife-incident is the final straw leading to her firing?
The cynic in me doubts this is the case, as there’s little humor inherent in having Ms. Stabbity dragged to the police station before she’s locked up for her own safety. Neither path appears particularly palatable. Actually acknowledging Erin’s insanity as a genuine mental illness isn’t funny (and risks offending the more politically correct). Not even a pants-free catfight was enough to ameliorate the squick inherent in watching a young woman actually lose her mind. But the thought of retconning a story arc that literally just finished is equally unpleasant. Why did we bother following this to the end if it were just to be thrown over? Carter and Rydell may be looking at a very well-painted room, except for the corner in which they’re standing, unless they’ve some twist planned. The next few story-updates will reveal which path the comic will take… and one misstep could result in a number of readers leaving in disgust.