This week we will focus on a heart-pounding, dystopian series from Image…
If you have not had a chance to pick up this insane and thought-provoking series, please stop what you are doing and start picking up this book now. It is really that good, I promise. This epic sci-fi series is the brainchild of Deadly Class writer, Rick Remender, artist Sean Murphy and colorist Matt Hollingsworth, and follows the story of constables Led Dent and Debbie Decay.
Led and Debbie are lifelong lovers and peacekeepers trying to survive in the decrepit remnants of Los Angeles. The year is 2089, and humanity’s relationship to technology is a complete and utter disease. The people of Los Angeles are enslaved by technology and the tyrannical Flak Corporation that owns it all. They will do anything for the next tech fix or slice of entertainment even if it means murder, assault, and thievery.
The world of 2089 Los Angeles is a mix of Deus Ex meets Mad Max in a whirlwind of Akira-esque violence, cybernetic implants, and rampant escapism. Led is a direct result of this society, a violent and almost mindless constable created through the use of advanced cybernetics, “juice” (a type of steroid and form of mind control), and a constant media stream that is linked to his helmet. He gives himself up willing to Flak when he becomes too afraid to face his own weakness. Debbie is his opposite in every way, a clever and formidable woman who outright refuses to be plugged in and only becomes a constable to protect Led. Her deep love for Led is the only thing that ties her to the atrocious company.
The first arc finds the two deployed to Tokyo, the last technology free city in the world. The Flak Corporation sees Tokyo as an opportunity for resources while Debbie sees it as the perfect way out for her and Led; a chance at a better life. The story of Tokyo Ghost is not subtle in the ways that it examines the instant gratification culture. The residents of Los Angeles riot for entertainment as bloody death races rage in the streets and screens are blasting constant media feeds throughout the city. Remender writes a city, and its inhabitants, that are utterly desensitized to violence and have no qualms resorting to it if it means their insatiable desire for tech and power is met. The combined forces of Murphy and Hollingworth give that city form, a form that is beaten, tired, and eaten alive by its unrelenting greed. Murphy’s sharp line work, coupled with an excellent use of momentum and perception, support the insane breakneck pace of this gritty reality while Hollingsworth’s scattered use of color presents a city pretending it is still vibrant and lively.
The way this particular creative team is able to craft an entirely separate culture in the form of Tokyo is impressive to see as well. Tokyo is lush and prospering with flora overtaking the old buildings and abundant fresh water. The team use their combined forces to form the antithesis of Los Angeles within Tokyo. The city itself utilizes the architecture of feudal Japan while the people exhibit and live the samurai codes of honor, respect, and community. It is a city detached from the cables and wires that plague cities such as the new Los Angeles. You can tell that this city is lived in, but instead of harboring greed and grief it holds love and hope. Hollingsworth color work also makes the scenes in Tokyo much brighter in comparison to Los Angeles, helping to support the distinction between the two environments.
All in all, Tokyo Ghost is perfect for anyone looking for a love story involving a horrific techno-ravaged dystopian world and exceptional social commentary. The story of Led and Debbie hits the ground running and as soon as it seems all is peaceful toward the end of arc one, the creative team hits with a twist that will leave you gasping and begging for more. Tokyo Ghost is a fantastic, young series with so much more to give and I am more than happy to go along for the ride.
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All images are property of Image Comics.