Advance Review – Man Plus #1 (of 4) (Titan Comics)

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Click to enlarge

Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer/Artist: André Lima Araújo
Release Date: 8th July, 2015

Coming this July from André Lima Araújo, the artist behind Marvel’s Spider-Verse and Avengers A.I., Man Plus transports us to a technology-obsessed dystopian future for an impressively creative sci-fi thriller.

The story is set in Olissipo City, a tech-heavy corporate metropolis where the line between man and machine is becoming more blurred every day, with physical augmentations and high-spec androids becoming more and more commonplace. A passion project from Araújo, Man Plus has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time now, but is finally set to hit the shelves of your local comic shop on the 8th of July, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to take an advance look at the first issue.

The first thing that strikes you as soon as you pick the book up is Araújo’s stunningly detailed artwork. Thin lines, dynamic layouts and impeccable technical abilities all combine to give Man Plus a distinctive aesthetic that definitely merits comparison to the likes of Moebius and Quitely in terms of both its structure and cohesiveness – albeit a slightly more manga-esque Moebius and Quitely. Now, I realise I’m setting the bar fairly highly here by comparing Araújo’s work to two of the most talented comicbook artists to ever pick up a pen, but once you take a look at Man Plus yourself, I think you’ll agree that it’s a valid parallel to draw. Simply put, this is a wonderful looking book, no doubt about it.

The story itself is little harder to put your finger on, with Araújo keeping things somewhat murky during the course of this first issue. An escaped android runs into a high-tech cyborg military unit on the streets of Olissipo City, leaving several bystanders dead and injured, and prompting “Special Operations” detectives Rodrigo and Josu to move in to investigate. Where did the android come from? What is cyborg unit’s agenda? Araújo keeps things vague here, letting the mystery wash over us and gradually drawing us deeper and deeper into this sinister, technology-obsessed society. In spite of the central characters not being particularly well developed – so far, at least – It’s definitely a wise approach, and the world that Araújo has created has enough of a unique hook to it to all but guarantee that readers will be itching to pick up the second issue as soon as they put down the first.

With so many high quality sci-fi comics hitting the shelves with regularity these days, Man Plus was always going to have to do something pretty impressive in its first issue if it wanted to stand a chance of keeping its head above water. Well, with Araújo’s slick, detailed artwork and a compelling mystery – complete with eyebrow-raising cliffhanger that yanks the wheel sharply in an unexpected new direction just when you thought you had things figured out – Man Plus not only manages to stand out from the crowd, but actually pushes its way to the front of that crowd, screaming in your face and demanding your attention.

Another utterly intriguing release from the folks at Titan then, and while it may be playing its cards somewhat close to its chest for the time being, there’s enough of a hook here in this first issue to suggest that Araújo’s long-awaited creator owned passion project is going to become something truly special. Highly recommended, folks.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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