Numbercruncher is about love, math, and the universe that only cares about one of those things. It’s also what happens when love starts to game the system, and how everything, including love, becomes a mess of obsession. This is a book that goes into some dark places, and shows how even something good can turn into something awful. This may turn into a weird review, I’ll warn you now.
One thing I really like about the world of Numbercruncher is how the only thing the universe cares about is the bottom line, and the rest is just to get there. Bastard Zane is a man who bargained his way out of death, but learned that the bargain is near eternity working behind the scenes of existence. Richard Thyme is a brilliant mathematician who dies, but knows enough of the math of the universe to make a hell of a bargain, and thus a battle between Zane and Thyme occurs.
Richard Thyme is an awful, selfish person. This becomes apparent by issue two with his insistence on trying to be with his beloved Jessica Reed. He and Zane ruin her life while Thyme tries to be with her, and the whole thing gets more and more selfish by the time things wrap up. In the end it does end up being a tortuous existence for everyone involved, forever. That said, this is still an enthralling book. I was anxious to find out what happened in this battle, all the while feeling awful for Jessica’s lot in this. It makes some sick sense in the end, but even so.
The art in this is incredible; the color that separates the world of the living with the behind the scenes black and white is great. It makes the whole thing look like two different books somehow. The art has this lovely way of making all the horrible death in the book, and there is a lot of death, wonderfully cartoonish and easier to accept. The amount of facial expression that gets conveyed in just the eyes is incredible.
This is a book I really enjoyed despite the characters’ horribleness. To be fair, I’m pretty sure that was exactly the point. The main characters are named Bastard and Thyme, after all; those are some strong declarations. I like the twists and turns the story takes, and how we end up seeing how obsession and math combine to make a near world shattering event. I recommend the book, even if it looks like I’m not. This was a strange one for me, but maybe it’ll be more clear cut for you. Hope you enjoy it.
Dr. Alexander Bustos