Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Sarah Kenney
Artist(s): John Watkiss (artwork), Jared K Fletcher
Release Date: 28th September, 2016
Surgeon-X is the debut comic by television and film director Sarah Kenney, and it’s already being praised for its scientific validity in regards to the antibiotics resistance crisis that’s been making headlines the past couple of years. It’s also a pretty brilliant little dystopian sci-fi that will educate as well as entertain.
Set in London in 2036, the death toll surrounding antibiotic related deaths has risen significantly. As a result, the far-right government now monitors and decides who gets treated, so a doctor known as Surgeon-X, or Rosa Scott when she’s at home, opens a backdoor practice to treat those in need.
There is so much good stuff going on in Surgeon-X that I could sit here all night and boast about it; so I will. First of all, it must be commended for its scientific accuracy in relation to the ‘antibiotics apocalypse’ – or at least for consulting medical professionals for inspiration. Furthermore, it’s addressing an issue which is very much topical right now, with an estimated 700,000 people dying yearly because of antibiotic resisting bacteria. It’s scary when you think about it, and perhaps there will be element of scaremongering to the story in some people’s eyes. That said, it does a great job of opening your eyes to a real world problem that you might perhaps be overlooking.
The book also explores conflicting ideologies, and how one’s personal opinions might affect their professional outlook. Moreover, it holds a magnifying glass up to the current political landscape and the state of the NHS, while presenting a future of more societal division and right-wing mentality which might not seem too far-fetched to some, depending on political persuasion and overall outlook for the future. The social commentary contained within Surgeon-X might not sit well with some, so be warned that this is very politically charged and unafraid to speak its mind.
However, the story itself is engrossing too, and fans of dystopian fare will have fun with Surgeon-X. It doesn’t hurt that the art is supplied by the legendary John Watkiss either, whose work on Sandman remains a haunting marvel to this day. His work here is top drawer as usual, and the colours from Jared K Fletcher create a dark, menacing world of shadow, flames and hopelessness.
Overall, Surgeon-X is off to a cracking start and I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of stories like V for Vendetta, which this is reminiscent of with its dystopian British setting, on-point and exploration of ideologies. Its politics might not sit well with some, but it’s still an engaging read, and even if you do disagree with some aspects of it, it might still give you some thoughts to ponder over.
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The writer of this piece was: Kieran Fisher
Kieran Tweets from @HairEverywhere_.