The irony is not lost on me as I sit here and write this review of Rick Remender‘s (All-New Captain America, Uncanny Avengers, Black Science, Deadly Class, Low, Fear Agent) and Sean Murphy‘s (Chrononauts, The Wake, Punk Rock Jesus) new creator-owned project, Tokyo Ghost. The backdrop of the story is a similar theme from the Mike Judge’s 2006 Idiocracy movie, but told in a more serious way in a very sci-fi world. Remender describes the series as a love letter to Road Warrior, Judge Dredd and 13 Assassins, which I can definitely see. Throw in the theme of Idiocracy and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect here.
So why is the irony not lost on me? Well as I sit here on my laptop, writing a review of a digital comic book, connected to the Internet while streaming digital music, would be why. See in Tokyo Ghost, the world has become addicted to technology and pretty much ignores everything else around them. Society has become desensitized and disconnected from itself. This is something we see almost daily in our lives. I am guilty of it as well. We can’t put down the tech, we are constantly checking out phones, at restaurants, in our cars, sitting in our living rooms, it is constant. The social interaction of face to face, the intimacy, is becoming lost. I could go on, but that is a discussion for another time (and probably another place).
As someone who spent this year trying to detach a little, getting outside and enjoy the great place that I now live in, this story really resonated with me. A lot.
Not only did it really get me thinking about the current state of things, I was absolutely in love with the first issue, and the second issues as well by the time I was done. I should note that I’m a huge fan of Remender, I have read many of his projects, including most of his creator-owned works. For me, he just nails it every time with whatever he is working on and can tell a really engaging story.
I’m also a big fan of Sean Murphy’s work as well. I think he is an incredible artist and I am always amazed at how much detail the guy does. Don’t know how he gets a monthly book done, but he does. There are always great Easter Eggs in his work and that is part of the fun in seeing his work. Even when you are done reading Tokyo Ghost, you can go back and go over the panels one-by-one and still find little things you didn’t notice the first (or possibly even the second) time around.
As far as the story goes, it takes place in the year 2089 on the Isles of Los Angeles. And as I before mentioned people are ignorant to the decaying world around them as they borrow, steal and kill to get that next digital/technological fix. Gangsters rule the city and Constables do their enforcing. Starting off in Tokyo Ghost #1, we are following two Constables that are childhood friends and now lovers, Debby Decay (aka Debbie Jacobs) and the most feared Constable of them all, Led Dent (aka Teddy Dennis). One of them wants to be free of the tech dependency and the other is completely lost in it. Kind of an yin and yang that mirrors the story itself.
The first two issues set things up wonderfully. We are thrust into the decaying world immediately and we learn about the two heroes(?) of this story as they are in pursuit of Davey Trauma throughout Los Angeles leaving a path of destruction behind them. By the end of the second issue we are left wanting more, ironically. With Debbie and Led now in Tokyo on one last mission for Mr. Flak, things are completely different from the dying world of Los Angeles, in Tokyo, Nature has taken over.
The Good: A great sci-fi story with commentary on today’s society and its digital addiction. Sean Murphy’s art is truly amazing and pulls you into the world he and Remender have created.
The Bad: It might make you feel bad about the way you live. The “techno speak” in the beginning is a little confusing, but after a while becomes easier to understand. There is swearing and nudity, so this could be off-putting for some.
Overall, Tokyo Ghost #1 and issue #2 are worthy purchases. If you are a sci-fi fan, then I suggest picking them up. If you are a fan of great stories, then I suggest this as well. Same goes if you are a fan of gorgeous art. You can pick up Tokyo Ghost #1 and #2 from you local comic shops, or digitally through comiXology.