Filed under: Comic Reviews, Indie Comics | Tags: Izobel, Jeremy Briggs, Metal Made Flesh, Phaeon Nex, Prine Tanim, Simeon Aston, Tuaoni
I picked up Metal Made Flesh at this year’s London Super Comic Con but I had seen some of the images flying around the web following its successful Kickstarter campaign and I was intrigued about the premise of a new sci-fi comic based purely on some of those first images.
That being said, as soon as I got my hands on it a quick flick through would reveal that it’s not a comic but more of an illustrated novella and my initial thought was “I wish it was all comic”. Nevertheless, as soon as I started reading the first of the three story arcs…….I was hooked. Intricate plots and a captivating world of cyborgs, assassins, sleaze and royalty merge to give us three very different cyberpunk stories to get lost in.
Metal: The first of the tales sees us following the life of cyborg Izobel – one-time soldier, now sex-bot and soon to be assassin. While that may be a fairly wild transition to consider the post-apocalyptic surrounds and the gritty realism that seems to seep in through the writing made it instantly likable. While we initially see Izobel atop a skyscraper prepping for her next target we’re soon taken back to her seedy days in the sex district where the will to survive over-shadows any dignity that she, or the other girls selling their body, had once clung to. Her latest trick turns sour as she gets tazered and has to fend of the attacker as he tries to incapacitate her and strip her for parts. With the tables turned the injuries sustained leave her with one limp arm and she quickly retreats to the underbelly of the city where she visits a friend for some repair work and some R&R. Her friend Leift fixes her up and watches over her while she reboots and she makes a trade with Izobel that helps them both out. A deal with the man in charge down at the supply docks see Izobel take on a new role as enforcer and protector of the cargo in the docks made up of food and other imported goods that have far more value than the the lives of the needy in the city. A series of close encounters and a hit gone wrong leaves Izobel’s world upside down as her employer and friends become the next casualties in the turf wars of the city. This all leaves Izobel alone but her army training and recent work at the docks has earned her a reputation that leads to more assassin work and an escape from the seedier side of the city.
Made: Story two sees the city from two perspectives……from the sewers and the flowing crap of the city through to the high class life of the city’s Royalty. Prince Tanim lives the high life and takes a firm downward look on anyone in the lower classes and this is all set against the flip-side of two sewer dwellers who stumble across remains of a body….which turns out to be a real creature who’s been through the wars and then some. An intricate mix between the two stories sees Tanim pursuing the next big “high” and the sex, drugs & rock n roll lifestyle soon catch up with him in a twist that I never saw coming…..a twist that ties us into the sewer pursuit that reads like a backstory but that twist hits out of left field and ties the whole thing together…..you gotta read this to believe it.
Flesh: The final tale in this universe sees another killer-for-hire, Phaeon Nex, taking some extreme measures to take down his next target. Visiting an upmarket and VERY expensive physician he manages to get hold of a body that he can swap his conscience into and as a synthetic child he disappears into the mass of fans in the city’s TV studio. It all quickly becomes clear that his untouchable target is the star of the biggest kids show on the planet and with his well placed team he’s hoping it’s a quick job and he can return to his own body as quickly as he takes out his target. While his killings are meticulously planned…..he can’t plan for himself becoming a target and an assault on him and his team leaves his life more messed up than he could’ve imagined.
All three of these tales are cyberpunk GOLD and there’s more than a resemblance to the likes of Blade Runner or even Ghost in the Shell but the entire world and hierarchy created on Tuaoni is astounding. The latest refuge of the human race who have now become firmly stuck under the boots of the upper classes and become lesser elements in the society as a whole. The three arcs played out across these three volumes are very different but infinitely connected by the surroundings and characters who exist inside. Smart writing from Jeremy Briggs is the hook that draws you in and the highly detailed descriptions of the world and people within it are enhanced with the imagery that’s cleverly placed throughout all three. The art itself from Simeon Astin is just that, ART, in it’s truest form. As the detail within and it’s placement add to the story but also act as a gift as you coast along on the shoulder of the main character.
Surprising, involving and ultimately leaving you with the feeling that you’ve got SOOO much more for your money than you had been expecting – it’s a privilege to own work like this as I kinda want to loan it out…..but it’s so good I don’t want to😀 Reads and looks like the best anime stuff you’ve ever seen and one that I want to own in hardback…..and that’s usually the biggest compliment I can give as that means it’s a definite keeper.
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