The Surrogates - Robert Venditti & Brett Weldele

I first heard of "Surrogates" as a movie that's currently in production; when I saw the graphic novel at Borders I was curious about the original source material. It's a little bit of "The Matrix," a little bit Philip K. Dick. "Surrogates" are machines made to look like real humans; people link up to them in the comfort of their own homes and send the surrogates out into the world. Originally designed for people with physical limitations, they have now become almost ubiquitous in the United States, and usage is spreading worldwide.

The benefits include physical safety: violent crime has now become property crime; murders always leave the operator alive as a witness. People are also able to change appearance, or gender, or ethnicity. But there's a resistance, too: there are those who argue that using surrogates is not really living. People have become too buffered from reality.

The storyline is sort of a murder mystery; somebody is out killing surrogates, and it looks like it's adding up to something much bigger than just random terrorizing. Police Detectives Harvey Greer and Peter Ford investigate and find themselves involved in something much bigger than initially expected.

I really enjoyed the book. The artwork is an interesting mix of the digital and hand-drawn, and the world reminded me a little bit of the movie "Gattaca," with a lot of monochromatic color schemes, some golden light, some blue shadows. The writing was pretty good, and the supplementary material at the end of each chapter did a good job of fleshing out the history of the surrogates without becoming simply plot synopsis. My biggest complaint about the artwork was re-using frames; that's something that always bugs me when I catch it. Is it really that difficult to change it up just a little so that I can't tell it's exactly the same drawing?

(For the record, I went and watched the trailer for "Surrogates," which stars Bruce Willis as Lieutenant Greer. It looks like it could be interesting, although there's at least one key plot point that they've switched up, probably to spice things up a bit.)

I'd recommend this one to fans of Philip K. Dick and sci-fi, and somebody who wants a more distinctive artwork to go with the story.

Fed to jonathan's brain | June 24, 2009 | Comments (0)


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