Alex Paknadel and Eric Scott Pfeiffer have created a cerebral war story with Arcadia. This is a step beyond the wars fought by the hacker stories we’re starting to see pop up in Hollywood. This is a cold war being fought between a fully realized digital world, in which the residents are beginning to mysteriously die, and the real world that has been devastated by a pandemic outbreak. It is a symbiotic relationship, but that balance is becoming more and more unstable. Partly due to the themes of power, the wealth versus the poor, the conscious versus the unconscious – there are so many levels and layers at play in this issue that, at times, it’s almost mind boggling.
To give you a story update would almost be pointless except to say that so much happens in a single issue, you would need to start at the first issue to have any semblance of this impressive science fiction story that often is like reading a dreamscape as visual poetry. I will try: A small group in The Meat, the real world, has set off to Los Angeles (Yes, that is the Staples Center.) seeking answers about the creation of Arcadia (the digital world), and boy howdy do they. I can’t even begin to consider the ramifications of what they discover. While in Arcadia, a young boy who was created within the walls of Arcadia, has been dropped to the center of the program and is in what feels like the id of chaos incarnate. He’s fighting against a drug-fueled nightmare, while above the group that fights for freedom against the oppressive government is being attacked. Again, the levels and layers at play here are ever shifting, and when these elements collide, I can only imagine my brain exploding.