Top Cow Productions/Image Comics 2016
Written by Matt Hawkins
Illustrated by Raffaele Ienco
Lettered by Troy Peteri
When Artificial Intelligence became ubiquitous, humanity was confronted with a choice: continue the endless cycle of violence or make a real change. The System Optimizer for Longevity (SOL) was engineered. When it came online it worked under humanity’s guidance to build a better future. Ambition, diversity, creativity, and instruments of capital were eliminated for the greater good. Everyone was given a personal A.I. joined with their brain in utero to connect them with SOL and the community. These Responsive Artificial Intelligence Network Archetypes became known as RAINA. Society now has Four Pillars: COMMUNITY, PEACE, HARMONY, and EQUALITY. Everything was designed to support this ideology. Robots took over all labor. Humanity entered its most harmonious age. It had finally found Symmetry.
Last issue Julia was at the Archive in Shanghai Asia when she and her companion were attacked. That’s where we pick up here.
There’s something about the way Matt is writing this story that makes it incredibly powerful and incredibly important to read. With Julia who is of Latin and White parents she represents a threat to the Symmetry the world’s found. Now with Chen alongside her on this new journey it becomes a whole new ball of wax. The young always seem to be able to question what is and what was and adapt to the new quicker than anyone realises. The threat to their way of life must be eliminated if things are to continue on the way they are and yet Julia and Chen and we’ll meet more of them but the younger generation finds excitement in meeting the others unlike them for the first time.
Racial harmony isn’t going to come from segregation. If there ever will be I can’t say but isolation and sameness without diversity leads to staleness a lack of imagination and the stagnation of a people. From the very beginning we’ve seen that in the way Matt’s been writing this. For the first time in my history i’m a reading a story about racial tensions, hatred and the desperate desire to keep things as they are in an intelligent and thought provoking way. Yes the kids are attacked but you see the reasoning behind that, doesn’t make it right but it’s there.
This whole story about discovering other cultures other races other than your own is a positive look at how we can change our world through understanding. There’s no need for in your face violence and hatred to rule a story it can be done with compassion. Plus I gotta say this story has everything when it comes to characterization, action, mystery and adventure. Just because there’s a huge message behind it doesn’t mean it has to be preachy it can fun, interesting and a journey as well.
Raffaele’s interiors here are magnificent! His attention to detail and the way he brings these characters to life is stunning. The use of backgrounds, angles and perspective throughout the flow of the pages and panels brings the imagination to life whether we are experiencing parts of the world with the characters or their battle for survival. His use of colour and shading really make an impact as well.
This issue Julia and Chen go to Africa and meet with a new traveling companion, Imari. I see a direction this series could be traveling and several offshoots as well. What I don’t know is how the story will end and I trust in Matt that the journey is much more important than the destination here.