Angel Stomp Future

 ANSF   (Avatar, 2004)

™ and © Warren Ellis, Avatar Press, Inc.

Angel Stomp Future, part of Warren Ellis’ ambitious four book Apparat Singles Group project (see also Simon Specter, Quit City, and Frank Ironwine), where each unrelated book represents an ostensible first issue in a new series, posits a future where human biological and social evolution has run amok. Society gave up resisting entropy’s constant creep long ago and reconciled itself to living amid the filth and decay suffusing everything. At the same time, unrestricted access to technology has allowed people to whimsically redesign their bodies while cars show love for their owners by growing complementary genitalia.

The proceedings expound on the subject of memes (rhymes with “seems”), a term first coined by best–selling Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Memes, as defined by the Angel Stomp Future’s narrator Dr. Angel Antimony, are “infectious ideas or a conglomeration of ideas that, taken together, make up our personalities and perceptions.” Sticking with the infection metaphor, memes, like germs, evolve by Darwinian processes from simple ideas into belief systems that eventually supplant our true identities.

Mature readers will enjoy Warren Ellis’ thrill ride out to the lunatic fringes of his meme theme. The sagacious, statuesque Dr. Antimony treads lightly across the dyspeptic cityscape addressing herself to the reader while counseling patients, discoursing on science fiction, and explicating her unwholesome world. The sexy contrarian, done up like a punk rock super vixen, rejects memes and offers her own take on humanity’s sorry state.

Ellis’ heady, exigent story gave artist Juan Jose Ryp a broad canvas to work on, and Ryp filled it in to the tiniest detail with clever, dense illustration that takes considerable time to assimilate and rewards close examination. A staggering, revelatory work, Angel Stomp Future testifies to the comic book medium’s most radical, thrilling potential.

— Leland Burrill

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