Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: William Gibson
Artist(s): Butch Guice
Release Date: July 13th, 2016
The story so far…its 2016 in a post-apocalyptic alternate world to ours and the US Vice President has abused a machine called the Splitter, to cross into our reality in 1945. With the aid of his companions he intends to manipulate our past to feed his own despotic desires and to conquer our world, so his followers can join him from the ruins of their universe. However, a resistance group opposed to the Vice President’s plan, send back two marines to thwart his nefarious scheme. Things don’t go to plan when one of the marines is killed and the sole survivor must rely on a RAF Intelligence officer and her US counterpart in 1945 to complete his mission.
Ok for a start this is a lot to take in, and from the off it is clear that this is not a comic book for the kiddies. My first read through left me a bit perplexed. The story is a good concept and the writing is very slick and mature but there was something not quite right in how it came across to me. It almost read as if it was an adaptation of a novel and like with most reworking’s of a novel into comic book serialisation some of the content is sacrificed leaving the reader grasping at the backstory of the protagonists.
Then I realised that the story is written by William Gibson…yes THE William Gibson! The godfather of ‘cyberspace’ author of the Sprawl Trilogy and generally the man regarded for reinventing modern science fiction. When this became clear the context of the book took on a whole new meaning for me. The gaps in the backstory of the book were not as I first assumed a missing link from a bigger picture. It was the writer trusting the reader to develop these links independently from the story so he is not spoon feeding us the plot and he himself is not weighed down with establishing this universe for us to understand. This allows him to concentrate on the direct story and establish the characters in a few panels as opposed to what would take a couple of pages in a novel. It is a clever technique that I appreciate from a writer who is considers the reader to have an adaptive imagination to comprehend his work.
This is Gibson’s first direct foray into the comic book world and he has translated his undoubted skill as a storyteller from that of his novels to this new format/style seamlessly, creating what I now regard (after reading the story for a third time) as a MUST read for any science fiction fan.
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The writer of this piece was: John Patterson