Artificials Unite in Aftershock Comic's New Series

Comic Review: Volition #1

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Creator & Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Omar Francia
Letterer: Marshall Dillon

The Story

The year is now 2132 AD. Artificials have more or less integrated into society.

Enslaved after their initial creation by Dr. Elizabeth Tramyor, Artificials won their freedom. But, they were also out-teched by newer models. This pushes Artificials into a life of survival crime to buy tech upgrades. These unregulated upgrades lead to the development of a virus, Rust.

Readers get backstory, a robot heist, and a violent cliffhanger in this first issue.

The Review

Ryan Parrot packs a lot into a single issue. I hope we get more historical details as the story unfolds. I appreciate that this is shaping up to be a story from the perspective of Artificials .

Artificials aren't named as oppressed in the comic. We can trace the weight of oppression back to their initial enslavement, rippling through the present. The push for the robots to be better, faster, and stronger is of course about capitalism. Let's get into this part!

HALE-19 sacrifices his safety to get his team to safety after the robbery goes bad. He’s stuck in jail.

The story centers on another Artificial AMBER-7T. She's a nurse that works at a hospital caring for sick Artificials.

There’s a balance to the story between both Artificial plot lines. But how much does the comic need a protagonist coded as a sympathetic white woman?

Artist Omar Francia delivers an issue that's perfect. He’s also worked on Star Wars and Mass Effect s for Dark Horse. It’s clear that he has great ability to work on sci-fi settings. The background cityscapes are so detailed.

The ships look well-planned, and I’m hoping we get to see more in the future of the series. The Artificials are unique and have expressive and emotional faces. I do wish there were more diversity in size among them, but I’m sure there’s an opportunity for many more designs.

The colors are also fantastic. This issue is dark. Even the brighter scenes share an overcast look. The most striking contrast is an office in the hospital which is super bright and sterile. This is also the scene of violence that creates the tension for the next issue.

Let me be critical of one panel.

During the early narration we learn how the Artificials won their rights. In one panel, they protest. In the distance an Artificial holds a sign that says “All Life Matters.” Ugh.

I would like to read a narrative about difference a in comic books that does not rely on asimple comparison to Black folx or the Black Lives Matter movement.

It’s getting so old. For chattel slavery to consistently be folx frame of reference for oppression, while simultaneously being always treated as a historical event is soooo frustrating. It's also so unnecessary to this book. It definitely interrupts the narrative for me, and if it’s a pattern of the series I’d probaby drop it.

Conclusion

Read this if you like AI. The premise of the story itself is not original, but the art pushes this into a must read sci-fi comic. And the writing is believable. Ryan Parrot has created a world here that is definitely worth exploring.

8 out of 10 crispy carrot sticks.


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