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What would become of the world, if, from this point on, no one ever had to die?
Writer Marc Bryant envisions a world that is disturbing and unexpected. In this haunting and beautifully written graphic novel, a singular event in the present day instantaneously makes the entire world’s population essentially immune to death. The story flashes forward 400 years, and the immortal populace of a choking planet has been forced to outlaw procreation. In a brilliant ironic twist, “nativity” detectives in this hellish future investigate illegal births, and rookie cops are horrified at the discovery of newborn babies. For centuries, virtually no one has ever seen the truly unthinkable: a dead person.
The atmosphere evokes Huxley’s Brave New World (or Brian Aldiss, Stanley Kubrick, and Steven Spielberg’s Artificial Intelligence: A.I.), but there are no children to be found, real or artificial. With no kids to raise, an over-aged and bored population now spends their infinite free time indulging in more adult vices like drugs and escapist virtual reality programs. And skyrocketing crime takes on new meaning in a world with far too many criminals and nowhere to house them.
The art, however, is not so brilliant. Mal Jones’ washed-out graytone style fits the dismal environment of the book but it’s just too smudgy in many places and frequently makes the story difficult to follow, especially early on. But this is adjusted for somewhat by the placement of well-designed pseudo-advertisements that explain certain elements of the story. And the murky style is less of an impediment, as the characters become more familiar and easier to identify.
This is an excellent and unusual example of dystopian futurism, not just in comics but in general literature as well. Science-fiction fans from ages 16 to 600 who are fans of the Huxley and Kubrick projects will enjoy this graphic novel.
— Jim Johnson
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| ||Marc Bryant||Mal Jones