In the wake of the global organ failure pandemic, scientist Matt Travers at the Regenerist Corporation perfects the art of organ duplication. But the new technology comes at a price. Fresh off its recent success on Kickstarter, Duplicant #1 introduces a well-constructed dystopian world and brings to the fore an array of challenging questions.
The tremendous medical bill that Pamela Wilton received for her life-saving synthetic lungs was more than she could possibly afford to pay. Her debt was auctioned and purchased by a sleazy investment banker, who forces her into indentured servitude and sexual slavery. Pamela escapes and goes in search of Matt Travers, knowing her only hope is a desperate plea for his help.
Duplicant #1 boasts a commendable level of comprehensive world building. Out of the gate, writer Karla Nappi explores the science fiction concepts we expect from dystopian stories, such as loss of individual control and oppression through advanced technology. The book also addresses an ambitious catalogue of real-world social issues and events – the most obvious example being the worldwide pandemic – but Nappi also touches on problems like discrimination and drone surveillance. Issue one moves at a fast clip, which works for introducing a lot of information, but doesn’t give some key moments in the story much room to breathe. The main characters are well defined, but not many connections are made between them until the end.
Artist Marianna Strychowska presents a clean dystopia with her artwork, like Blade Runner without the grime and downpour. The long, thin lines and cool colors create a sterile serenity, but underneath the sanitized exterior is a world of dirty secrets. Pamela Wilton is ripped from her clean life before the transplant and discarded into the darkest depths of society, where she’s manipulated by religious zealots and sexually exploited by the ultra rich.
The world established in Duplicant #1 has immense storytelling potential, and future issues are poised to capitalize on the various themes introduced.
Creative Team: Karla Nappi (writer/creator), Marianna Strychowska (art), Leila Del Duca (lines/cover), Josh Reed (letters/production)
Publisher: Second Sight Publishing
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