The world is a weird place, and it only gets weirder in the future, which is why someone like Dr. 2, a masked physician and master of acupuncture, is sought after for his ability to solve otherwise unsolvable crimes.
The first thing that caught my eye about Dr. 2 is the art. The series uses a rich, black-and-white style that perfectly captures the feeling of film noir. James Chiang’s art is highly stylized and makes incredible use of its limited color palette; colors shift from panel to panel in order to capture the mood of each scene, without sacrificing the ability to recognize the setting or the characters. The panels seem to bleed into one another, which left me with the cinematic feeling of cameras panning, which are then supplemented by rapid-fire panels in moments of intense action. This creates a beautiful flow of highs and lows to the story. Dr. 2 is a carefully constructed book where the layout and the design of the comic are every bit as important as the character movements or the words on the page.
The second is the clever use of setting. Set in 2045, the world economy has fallen apart even more withhundreds of millions jobless, ecological disasters that are making the world unbearable, terrorism, and more. The setting of Dr. 2, explored through the eyes and the crisp narration by the good doctor, is an eerie depiction of our future that captures the spirit of the 1930s and lends itself to the noir tone as much as the doctor’s fedora. There are some early signs of an Asian influence on the series, such as Dr. 2’s use of acupuncture, although this first issue focuses more on building the noir and more science fiction elements of the series.
The element I’m perhaps most intrigued and yet frustrated by is the mystery surrounding Dr. 2. I can rattle off the facts I know about him and keep it to one hand, none of which are things like his name or whether he’s actually a doctor. At the same time, writers James Chiang and Peter Tieryas do a superb job of teasing the questions every reader is asking and adding a few I wouldn’t have thought to ask. It’s the many mysteries surrounding the doctor that are going to keep me coming back for future installments.
Four and a Half Fedora-Wearing Protagonists out of Five