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‘Arcadia #2:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Quick recap: Earth was hit by a deadly pandemic, but before millions of people were to die, they were uploaded into a virtual world called Arcadia. Now, these millions of people will never die. Those with money get more programs to play with, those without walk around as globs of information. This is a world in which anyone can pretty much do and create anything; if you have the power, it becomes your personal virtual fantasy playground. On the outside, in Alaska, humans that survived watch over the banks of memory keeping everyone in Arcadia “alive.” That’s the basic premise.

Arcadia creators Alex Paknadel and Eric Scott Pfeiffer don’t start small either. They take you to a macro level, rushing you into the world and expecting you to catch up. So, pay attention, because something you see or read may not make sense until later in the issue. And, with several plot threads picking up from the first issue and a few more starting, you’ll need your thinking cap on.

Here’s a little micro to wet your whistle:  On the outside world, Lee Pepper has illegally made contact with his daughter Coral who is quite the troublemaker in Arcadia. Coral has a double of her father, Lee Garner, who was created in Arcadia to replace Lee Pepper, but Lee Pepper ended up living – so, now, there are two Lees - a digital one and a real one – two dads, one daughter. What a lovely contrast and promise of great complication this sets up for us in the future. Are people inside Arcadia actually alive? Do they need to be protected as if they were? Is one just as real and important than the other? Those questions may be of great significance very soon, as those on the inside and outside are both going after Lee Pepper including Lee Garner.

Many more complications abound, including forced memory loss, illegally created “programs,” political intrigue, sabotage, murder, digital gangs, etc. Reading this book is like playing a game of chess with pros, or putting together a puzzle, and Paknadel and Pfeiffer do wonders in keeping it all coherent by the end of the issue, while not utterly destroying your sense of place, time, or character. Pfeiffer gets to have a lot of fun with the colors in the book, and letterer Colin Bell gets his moments of creative freedom that tickle my fancy.

Arcadia been compared to The Matrix and Game of Thrones, and while it has the serious nature of these stories, to me it feels like it borrows more from Philip K. Dick in its twisting of reality to an absurd degree that, at times, creeps into dreamlike surrealism. And, that is more than okay by me.

Last modified on Monday, 01 June 2015 19:30

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