Best Review Ever! NARCOPOLIS CONTINUUM
TITLE: NARCOPOLIS CONTINUUM (TPB)
PUBLISHER: Heavy Metal
WRITER: Scott Duvall
ILLUSTRATOR: Ralf Singh
COLORS: Nicolas Chapuis
LETTERS: Taylor Esposito
PROJECT MANAGER: Pippa Scott
EDITOR: Valerie D’Orazio
COVER: Darick Robertson & Diego Rodriguez
SUMMARY: In the near distant future, genius inventor Ben creates the ultimate drug. No ordinary narcotic, its effects will take Ben on a trip through time in an attempt to uncover the truth behind his father’s disappearance twenty years ago. In searching for answers, the past reveals its secrets that the young scientist won’t accept, even if it means risking everything he’s worked for. Based on the UK sci-fi thriller starring Elliot Cowan (Da Vinci’s Demons), Elodie Yung (Marvel’s Daredevil), James Callis (Battlestar Galactica), and Jonathan Pryce (Brazil), Narcopolis: Continuum explores new corners of the world introduced in the movie.
COMMENTS: Narcopolis is exactly what it sounds like, a society based on Narcotics. Ben deals with the loss of his father and street dealers as Ambro, the legal narcotic is everywhere and part of everything. The question of time travel drives Ben to examine his own history. Now time travel is done in different ways in different comics. Flash runs on a treadmill. Superman traveled faster than the speed of light, Ben sticks a big ass needle in his eye. I’m not sure if time travel is worth sticking a needle in the eye, over and over again for each time trip.
When Ben returns from his trip to the past he is visited by Eva with a hologram from future Ben to current Ben telling him to destroy his life’s work to save the future. This is where all time paradox stories go. Because if he destroys Algorithm then future Ben no longer exists to tell present Ben to destroy Algorithm. The actual time paradox is dealt with later in the story as they explain the rules of changing the timeline in this Universe. However, presently things go from bad to worse until Ben is reunited with his father and it’s not a happy reunion and Ben is forced to continually go back in time trying desperately to save his future. He eventually encounters a young Todd Ambro, who fully explains the course of Ben’s entire life. Just as the reader thinks all is lost there is a surprise happy ending, all is right in Ben’s world until one final twist and you are left with menacing evil looming overhead.
This is a full-length trade paperback encompassing a four issue mini-series, but getting to know the characters and understanding their universe draws you in and the comic feels incredibly short.
You get the full cinematic feel in the comic, but you don’t need to have seen the movie to follow the comic. I did not see Narcopolis before reading the comic and Scott Duvall did a superior job with the story telling and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by not seeing the movie first.
I have to point out that color in a comic is always a plus for me, and I usually don’t notice the coloring. It’s one of those things that if it is done well I don’t think about it, but if it is done poorly I really notice. In this case, Nicolas Chapuis did an outstanding job with the colors. While the background is almost exclusively blue, surprisingly everything everywhere is blue. When you get to the people there are a variety of light sources casting different shades in different angles. It is amazingly good. Ralf Singh art is very open and the line work has the same weight on every line, Nicolas Chapuis comes along and adds depth, light, and shadow to the art in a way usually done by inkers. The final result is very good and well suited to the sci-fi genre.
At the end, you get the pitch for the comic sereis, character bios, and creator commentary. The commentary is outstanding, it feels like the directors commentary on a DVD and gives more details to the story you may have missed.