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Narcopolis Continuum #1 has hit comics shelves and our own Jonathan Thompson is here with our ComiConverse review.
Building from the world created in the sci-fi thriller Narcopolis, Narcopolis Continuum #1 by Heavy Metal, tells the story of Ben Grieves, a genius inventor working for Ambro Corp. In 2044, the world appears to be a safer place than it is now, but appearances can be very deceiving. The clean and non-violent world is just the façade of a much darker society.
(Mild Spoiler Alert)
In the year 2044, Ambro Corp. is the sole distributor of all recreational drugs, from cigarettes to ecstasy. They have found a way to make all drugs safe, which leads them to being legal. Only the weaker, low-end grade drugs are sold illegally by Rats – Rogue Addiction Traders. Ambro Corp. has a special police force that monitors all illegal drugs sales, they’re called Drecks.
Ben’s father, who was a Dreck for Ambro Corp., has been missing since 2024. Twenty years later, Ben is an inventor for Ambro Corp., working to create a drug that will allow people to time-travel. Sacrificing a life outside of his lab, Ben has devoted his life to finding out the truth behind his father’s disappearance. While in the lab, he is building off of Dr. Yuri Sidorov’s work, the man who cracked the key to time-travel. Like Ben’s father, Yuri disappeared one night without a trace. Ben suspects that after finally learning the secret behind time-travel, Yuri went underground to keep his secret hidden from others or he got lost in time.
Sixty years of work finally pays off and Ben has discovered how to travel through time. Too excited to think straight, Ben decides to test the drug on himself. Though reluctant to help, his assistant Eva, helps him by shooting the drug into his hippocampus. That means it gets injected directly through his eye.
Ben travels back twenty years to the night his father disappears. In the room with Frank Grieves is Ben’s boss, Todd Ambro, some of his Drecks and, to Ben’s surprise, Dr. Sidorov, the man who sparked Ben’s research. Before Ben can do anything, he’s back in 2044.
Knowing he has to perfect the formula to be able to stay longer in the past, Ben throws himself harder into his research. As he’s working, a familiar yet unfamiliar person walks into his lab with a message that could save more than Ben’s life, but also the lives of the people he loves.
I am going to say first that time-travel stories give me a headache. Even the Back to the Future trilogy made my brain hurt and that version of time-travel, with all of the paradoxes it created, was dumbed down for a wide audience. That isn’t to say Narcopolis Continuum is a bad story, it’s actually a great story that just happens to make my head hurt for that reason.
After reading through the plot numerous times, my head stopped throbbing and started to wrap around the important elements beyond time-travel. It’s a great story of a son trying to find his father in a world that seems perfect, but isn’t. Ben is forced to work with the man who is the hidden enemy to find the truth.
The artwork is beautiful, you can see the wear and age on Frank Grieve’s face at the beginning of the book as though an actor was portraying the weary-souled man. The future is drawn like a sterile, peaceful place with billboards of some of the products Ambro Corp. makes, giving you the feeling that its presence is everywhere, almost like Big Brother is watching.
I felt the book ended strangely, but in a way that makes me want to read the next three books to find out what Ben has to go through. The visitor at the end, carrying a special message for Ben, was a nice touch, though it added to the mind-melt I experienced.
The book is rated M for mature, but the first chapter of the four-part series was tame compared to some of the other rated M books I’ve read. I’m pretty sure the next three won’t be tame, but they will be exciting.
If you enjoy a good mystery with some strange circumstances, this books is definitely worth a read. I’m looking forward to getting the next three chapters to see what happens, though I will have some headache medicine and a lot of water next to me when I do.
Time travel is so confusing!
Leave a comment about your opinion and let’s ComiConverse about Narcopolis Continuum #1.
Jonathan Thompson is a Contributor for ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @Jon_Toast
Great artwork. An intriguing tale of a son trying to find his father and the truth from inside the belly of the beast.