Sean Maher's Quality Control

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Top Shelf Week: The Surrogates #1 and #2

The Surrogates is a five-issue miniseries by writer Robert Venditti and artist Brett Weldele. So far, I think both men are showing potential and a flaw or two in their work, but I've got like five minutes to make this post so I'll cut to the chase.

The series is essentially a sci-fi cop procedural, following the case of someone "murdering" surrogates. See, in the world of the future, people do a virtual reality kind of thing with robotic bodies, hanging out in their rooms all day and sending out their stronger, sexier, better robot selves to do the actual living while they (the real folk) watch.

The procedural elements are really fun, and I think Venditti's a sharp scripter. The dialogue, the pacing, the world-building (surrogates, of course, being the greatest social upset since The Pill) are all very nice. But I can't help but feel like it needs more at stake - so someone kills all the surrogates. Uh, so? That's basically mass vandalism. Hard to get all tense about it.

The art is pretty neat; sketchy style, nicely kinetic, expressive. I don't really like how the coloring is done, though - no single object on the page is colored, so much as the whole page is given a "wash" with emphases in certain portions of the page. Seems a little too Photoshoppy, to me. It's not everywhere, but when the page takes a brownish tint it just really stands out.

Still, this is promising work, and I'll be on the lookout for issue #3. Even if nothing huge is at stake (yet), there's some solid entertainment in the rest of it, and who knows?--there might just be something coming I don't expect.


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