In the future, our wars are fought by a militia funded by the United Nations. But is this militia really dedicated to preserving peace and order or are they trying to exploit the world’s war for profit?
“It is appallingly obvious our technology has exceeded our humanity” – Albert Einstein
That quote from Einstein perfectly sums up the themes and issues that Matz and Luc Jacamon deal with in their new science fiction epic, Cyclops. Perhaps best known for their work on The Killer, Matz and Jacamon present a science fiction story that has numerous parallels to the world we live in today.
A DOSE OF SOCIAL CRITICISM
The best science fiction stories always have an equal mix of solid storytelling and social commentary. Matz takes his cues from sci-fi’s best authors such as Robert Heinlein, James Tiptree and Philip K. Dick. Matz understands that sci-fi needs to be more than just laser guns and wisecracking aliens. He creates a world where the moral and social implications of futuristic weapons are far more interesting than how much destruction they can cause.
Matz shows readers this world through the eyes of Douglas Pistoia. Pistoia is a prospective member of the U.N. backed militia fighting the world’s wars. Pistoia’s wife is hesitant about him taking this position, but Douglas is forced to take it due to the lack of other employment options. Through these conversations we learn that Matz’s world is one of constant war and economic malaise. It’s hard not to see the direct parallels to the state of our own world.
The most interesting wrinkle in this story is the deceitful intentions of the militia’s leaders. This is a world where the line between entertainment and war begins to blur. Every soldier in the militia wears a camera at all times so their battles can be recorded and the militia then sells the footage to news stations for a profit. Scenes in the newsroom where anchors flippantly talk about their hopes for violence and even death are both engrossing and horrifying. In a world where the advanced technology can be a benefit to mankind it is instead another vehicle for those in power to get rich.
What hits home the hardest about this issue is the fact that nothing that transpires ever seems too far fetched. The sci-fi in this story isn’t too advanced to make readers feel disconnected and, in fact, some moments in the book look dangerously close to our current wars overseas.
A STUNNING WORLD THAT LEAPS OFF THE PAGE
Even more impressive than the story is the breathtaking art by Luc Jacamon. Jacamon’s take on Matz’s futuristic world pays homage to classics like Blade Runner but it differentiates itself enough to be its own beast. Establishing shots of luminous buildings and city traffic don’t just stay static on the page, but instead they move with a kinetic energy that a mere four sided comic panel can’t contain. While the human designs may be a tad simplistic they are all unique from one another and display a believable range of emotion that most artists can only dream of achieving. The color palette also adds depth to the look of the book. The grays and greens of the war setting are sharply contrasted with the bright blues and oranges that are present during the scenes in the news station. The technology is so well illustrated that you can almost hear the computers buzzing and the guns firing.
BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT!
This is what an indie comic should be. Matz and Jacamon aren’t creating a superhero book to try and compete with the big two. Instead, they are taking hard social commentary and pairing it up with dynamic art to create something completely fresh. This is a must buy for sci-fi fans and fans of stories with a little bit of meat to them.
4 ½ stars out of 5