From Image Comics and writer Rick Remender (Black Science), Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus) and Matt Hollingsworth (Wytches) comes the astounding sci-fi series Tokyo Ghost. Here’s my review of issue #1.
The Isles of Los Angeles 2089: Humanity is addicted to technology, a population of unemployed leisure seekers blissfully distracted from toxic contamination, who borrow, steal, and kill to buy their next digital fix. Getting a virtual buzz is the only thing left to live for. It’s the biggest industry, the only industry, the drug everyone needs, and gangsters run it all. And who do these gangsters turn to when they need their rule enforced? Constables Led Dent and Debbie Decay. This duo is about to be given a job that will force them out of the familiar squalor of Los Angeles to take down the last tech-less country on Earth: The Garden Nation of Tokyo.
It took me over a half hour to get through the first few pages of Tokyo Ghost issue one. That’s because there was so much detail, so much information and so many hilarious easter eggs jampacked into this incredible world that I couldn’t help myself. A ‘Black Science’ pinball machine? That’s nothing — dig into the panels – there are many more including digs at the creative team themselves.
Even though the action was fast-paced and exciting, I took it upon myself to explore every single illustration and detail put onto the page from Sean Murphy. He’s one of my favourite artists and I hail his acclaimed ‘Punk Rock Jesus’ to the same level as Watchmen. Yes it’s that good. This comic feels like Bladerunner to me, but it’s cooler. It’s something new, something different and entirely badass.
In a world where one of our lead characters is so immersed by the internet that he can’t even look up from his holo-screens featuring a splattering of TV shows, news feeds and porn even while he’s in the middle of a high-speed chase you realize that Rick Remender has taken the idea of technology addiction and morphed it into the most extreme representation yet.
I love the idea that being a ‘net-head’ has become worse than getting hooked on crack. This hulking behemoth is in the middle of sex at one point and utters the phrase, “my shows are on,” or the villain yells “I’m the Jesus of murder” during a horrifying murder spree… Tokyo Ghost is funny, violent and packs more of a punch than any other single issue that I’ve read all year long and it’s been one helluva fine year for comics.
Tokyo Ghost was so well written, so well drawn and coloured (Matt Hollingsworth is too damn good and there’s a reason he’s featured on so many acclaimed books these days). The debut chapter of Tokyo Ghost is to comics what Mad Max Fury Road was to film this year. Non-stop chaos, astounding world building, strong characters and elevating the genre of science fiction. Perfect.