Thursday, November 10, 2005

This Comic Is Good: The Surrogates

On a recommendation from beloved comicblogger Neilalien and a thirst for something different, I picked up the first two issues of Top Shelf’s new sci-fi miniseries The Surrogates.


It’s good.

The setup is both simple and rich with potential: in a near-future city, someone is murdering people at random by electrocuting them. The complication is that the “people” he kills aren’t people at all, but robot “surrogates” that people use to interact with the outside world. Almost nobody goes out in the flesh anymore, preferring to interact via their surrogate.

A keen-o concept by itself, yes. What makes the series good is how writer Robert Venditti and artist Brett Weldele extrapolate from the concept in intelligent ways. The main character, a policeman investigating the destruction of surrogates, hasn’t seen his wife in the flesh in years, and she refuses to interact without her robot double. When the police meet a scientist’s tall and beefy surrogate, the cops later joke about how small the real man must be to adopt such a persona.

The dialogue feels real as well. Nobody speaks in tough-guy cliches, nor is the story a Blade Runner ripoff.

God, it’s so refreshing to read a cop hero who doesn’t speak in faux-Chandler pseudo-poetry noir crap.

Vendetti put great care not only into the fictional world but the characters. What a beautiful thing.

Weldele’s art is unusual, tending towards roughly-inked outlines and watercolor-wash colors that give pages expressive moods conventional art wouldn’t.

Here’s a page from issue #2.

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The Surrogates is an interesting mystery, an intelligent sci-fi story, and a comic with an engagingly different art style. Man, you don’t find that every day.

Very highly recommended.

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Blogger Bill Reed said...

Dang, now I hope I can find a copy. I didn't think much of this when I'd heard of it, but it sounds pretty fun... and I love the art, there.

11/10/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

Top Shelf is selling it off of their own website with a pretty schweet deal. Click on the link I put in the article at the end of the first paragraph over the phrase "the surrogates."


11/10/2005 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Jeez, I've only bought the first two issues and mentioned how good they are. I'm going to go cry now because I couldn't convince Bill to buy this, but Harvey could. Boo-hoo.

11/10/2005 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger joncormier said...

This sounds like the book Noir I think? I know I read a book recently about people who use robots to go to the bad part of town and the people are plugged to the robots. Not that that means anything really.

I was wondering about this book. Seen it around, now it's a hmmm, must check it out - hope it's not as hard to find as Fear Agent and Ferro City for me.

11/10/2005 04:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Daniel Apodaca said...

Whoa, that art's pretty awesome.

11/10/2005 05:01:00 PM  
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