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‘Terminarch #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

So, this is the end.

Stephen Hawking has warned that Singularity is coming, the defining moment where – if we continue to pursue AI – it will gain consciousness and propagate at a prodigious rate and basically follow its course of logic to become Ultron.  Apocalypse by machine has been the basis of some great cyberpunk stories, most noticeably in The Matrix Trilogy, but Jordan Hart has added a new wrinkle to the trope: a man whose actions have placed him outside of society to begin with is now the last vestige of that society.  When the machines took over, they left the artists – humans who could create something that the machines knew that they could not – and kept them to keep creating for the machines.

The whole of the story focuses on the one outsider who escapes the sudden purge of humanity, and though there’s a good piece of evidence providing a clue as to how he was spared by a seemingly foolproof plan, I’m very curious to see why this protagonist was chosen.  In the beginning of the story, we see him commit a significantly heinous act, and he manages to escape punishment for it. (Regardless of your thoughts of living in the wilderness, he takes absolutely no responsibility for his actions.)  Truth be told, this is a protagonist that I inherently dislike on every level. Even when he’s begging in a sympathetic moment, I was hoping that worse would happen to him; his actions are absolutely horrendous and there’s indication that he’s not learned anything in his time as a hermit.  It interests me that Hart would craft a story around such a vile being, but the quality of the script and the ideas behind the story would seem that there’s a deliberate purpose to it.  It’s interesting enough a hook to make me want to read a little more to see where the catch is, to see why this backstory works.  It’s a very risky play, and I can only think that there has to be some amazing turn of this tale to make it work coming along.

Terry Huddleston contributes with the artwork in this issue and does a great job with it.  The character designs are interesting and well crafted, bringing the absurdity of the situation to life.  The unspoiled wilderness that we find our protagonist in is set beautifully on the page, and the backgrounds throughout really do a great job in every scene.  This is an intimate kind of story, and as such there are no splash pages or shocking visual reveals, but there’s a solidity to his crafting of this world that shows the surplus of talent he’s got.  Huddleston’s renderings are a major part of why I want to give this series a chance; the subtle, but poignant, way that he furthers the story alongside the script is really fantastic.

This is an interesting read, as there’s a very clear and well laid out story, yet mysteries abound in a very meta way.  The last page features a note from the author and a website to visit if you’re interested enough to see more.  I know I’ll be asking for more of this book because of the intriguing nature of what this team has chosen to do, and I’m hopeful that there are pieces yet to come that will make it all clear.

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