Time travel rarely ever ends will, and adding drugs in to the mix can’t end well. Find out where the mix takes scientist Ben in the Major Spoilers review of Narcopolis: Continuum #1.
In the near distant future, genius inventor Ben creates the ultimate drug. No ordinary narcotic, its effects will take Ben on a trip through time in an attempt to uncover the truth behind his father’s disappearance twenty years ago. In searching for answers, the past reveals its secrets that the young scientist won’t accept, even if it means risking everything he’s worked for.
IN THE NOT TOO DISTANT FUTURE
In the world of Narcopolis: Continuum, all drugs are legal and controlled by one company. Working for that company is a man named Ben who has secretly harbored one ambition: finding out what happened to his father. In order to do that, Ben makes a drug that allows him to travel through time. As he tries to grasp with what he learned on his first trip and figure out how to move forward, he’s visited by someone from the future with important information from his future self. This book has a lot of issues, which will be addressed in a moment, but the idea of a time travel drug is interesting. While this is not the first story to use the idea, they are few and far between. For some, the idea may be entirely new, and maybe enough of an intrigue.
That concept aside, this book does little to be fresh. A man hell-bent on trying to find their missing friend/family member/dog is one of the oldest stories, and while it is a fine groundwork to build from, there is almost nothing built here to compel us. The only two named characters have stock personalities that are told to us instead of demonstrated, never allowing them to feel like real people. We’re told so often that everything Ben does in this book is out of character for him, but we have nothing to compare those statements to. Given how he acts, it is hard to believe he’s a scientist since he willingly takes a highly dangerous drug after just one small test with unclear results. His insane and unexplained desperation aside, it makes no sense to not try and at least duplicate the results before injecting himself in the eye.
A GLIMPSE IN TO TOMORROW
For science fiction stories told in a visual medium, the look and aesthetic are just as important as the concepts presented in the story. While the concepts are solid enough, the visual front falls short. Aside from a couple of skyline shots, most of the story is spent in a sparse lab and an equally empty warehouse, neither of which give the impression of a far advanced society. Even those few views of the world outside the window are generic buildings we could expect to see in the world today. The biggest hint we get of exciting new advancements is an anti-gravity chamber, which is nothing more than a glass cube that appears for less than a page. In a world full of legal drugs that enhance experiences, you would expect every corner to be vibrant and alive, but what we get is duller than our own world now. There is a lot of wasted space and blank backgrounds, where simple design could make us feel like this world is actually lived in. To top it all off, the characters are often awkwardly posed, and the facial expressions vary little between panels, making the humans seem just as alive as the setting that surrounds them.
BOTTOM LINE: OFF TO A BAD START
I am not one to judge an entire story by just the first entry, but they do provide a clear road map of what we can expect from what is to come. The initial offerings in this book are few, which does not bode well. While we could hope for more depth to the characters, the world, and the story in coming issues, it does not seem likely that there will be. Maybe this will be a book that reads better in a collected edition, but that wouldn’t be enough to salvage this opening chapter.
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