Rating: 5/5 – A Wonderfully Depressing Look at Our Digital Future.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Tokyo Ghost is as much a commentary on where we are and where we’re headed when it comes to social media and technology, as it is about action and adventure. Creators Rick Remender and Sean Murphy show us a future in Tokyo Ghost where you’re connected to the digital world at all times. While the “outside” world is becoming more and more run down, people are flocking towards the digital world to find their comfort and sanctuary, becoming addicted to all the things the digital world has to offer over the real one. Tokyo Ghost focuses on two main characters; Debbie Decay who is free of technology and Led Dent who can’t ever look away.
These two characters are law enforcement agents and partners, enforcing laws that are written by a massive corporation that controls everything related to social media and digital entertainment. Remender is able balance the two characters, and show just how their lives are different from one another based on their level of connectivity. Led is always connected, even while performing his job. He’s a sad and depressing character that fits in with the rest of the world. Debbie, because she isn’t connected, feels more alive. As the reader, I felt myself hovering between the two characters. At times we’re engaged with all that’s around us, at other times we’re lost in the desire to stay current as we hit refresh on our browsers and social networks. Tokyo Ghost is heavily science fiction influenced, but there are hints of truth that point to certain parts of today’s society. Remender in the afterword talks about the last time you had lunch with someone when they didn’t look at their phone. That behavior is amplified in this first issue, but you can see us headed to a future where what we’re used to now will only become that much more prevalent.
As good as the story was, the art is truly the best thing about this book. Sean Murphy packs the page with detail after detail. Los Angeles of 2089 is packed full of people, dirty, and full of artificial lights and colors. Murphy makes it a believable world by putting care and detail into everything he draws on the page. The opening panel alone is a drawing of a record player that shows all the different parts and components, then in the next panel fades out to a group of homeless people sitting around that record player while surrounded by little blinking lights of their personal internet while surrounded by filth. Murphy takes that level of balance that’s found between the two main characters, and infuses that theme right into the art. Murphy’s art surprised me on multiple pages and panels throughout the issue, and the previews of the art in issue two shown at the back of this issue look even better!
Tokyo Ghost is one of those books where I felt a bit depressed by reading it, while at the same time feeling energized by the art and creative storytelling. Remender and Murphy have a potential hit on their hands here and I’m excited to see just where this book is headed. The first issue left me not wanting to check my phone for a while, which is OK because that just means I got to read this book a second time.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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