The creative team of writer Michael Lent and artist Marc Rene are back with the second chapter of their mind-bending and visually stunning sci-fi indie comic miniseries, The Machine Stops. Based on the only science fiction short story written by E.M. Forster, the famous English novelist who wrote such classics as A Room with a View and A Passage to India, Lent and Rene’s adaptation continues to be a relevant and timely story that is sure to engage fans of classic science fiction that challenges the reader.
As Lent explained in the intro of The Machine Stops: Part 1, despite being written in 1909, the original short story he based this comic miniseries on foretells “ . . . our modern way of information gathering and social interaction through cyberspace, while expressing concern for our dependence on technology at the expense of personal experience.” While Lent’s first issue dealt with setting up the world and the relationship between the mother and son who are our lead characters, this second issue deals with the son’s shocking revelations about the surface of this future Earth, long thought to be uninhabitable, and his epic journey to reach it and discover the truth. It’s an intriguing new take on the long-present theme of the natural world vs. the machine in the science fiction genre.
Rene’s art style, featuring strong, black-and-white contrasts and unique panel layouts, tends to push even further in the second issue in regards to communicating the complex, cerebral, and bizarre, yet cold, tone of The Machine Stops. While still a perfect fit for the story, both Rene’s art and Lent’s script may, at times, cause moments of confusion for the reader, but those who press on should end up enjoying both the solid plot and engaging visuals (including some beautiful splash pages and a fantastic cover image by Rene for this specific issue).
FINAL VERDICT: Fans of intelligent and challenging science fiction such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Matrix, or 1984 should devour The Machine Stops. For those who’ve already enjoyed the first issue of The Machine Stops, this is a no brainer. Do not hesitate to continue the journey to the surface with Lent and Rene!
The Machine Stops is published by Alterna and is now available on ComiXology. Find out more about The Machine Stops and its creators on Facebook or by visiting the official website at www.tmsthemachinestops.com.
Also, be sure to check out my review for The Machine Stops: Part 1 at the link below:
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers! Keep an eye out for those creepy worm-things and keep heading up!
‘Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer