Most of the writing here lately, what little there is, has been about comics and while I don’t see many people reading the posts I do enjoy writing them so I am going to continue to do so until I don’t. How’s that for commitment? I like the Key Issues column but I haven’t been able to do anything current and I don’t plan on doing any new releases there anytime soon or maybe ever so I am going to start a second column to deal with more recent releases and thus I give you Top of the Stack! This column will be for recent releases that I have read an enjoyed. Since I am not on any kind of preview list these books will already be out in stores and possibly even sold out but you can always get the digital version on Comixology. Well, maybe not ALWAYS but I expect that most of the books I review here will be there but if not, I am sure you can find it somewhere. If not, just drop a comment and I will figure out where you can find it. Now, on to this week’s book.
It was hard to pick a book to start this column with but I settled on Tokyo Ghost #10, written by Rick Remender, art by Sean Gordon Murphy, and colors by Matt Hollingsworth. “But Jeff, that is the last issue of the series!” you might say and you would be correct but tell me when there is a better time to talk about a series than right after it is complete? Obviously a new reader would not want to run out and pick up this issue without reading the nine that came before it but the end of the series provides a great opportunity to talk about the story as a whole and hopefully inspire someone to seek it out. The whole thing is there for you to enjoy. No lines and no waiting.
Tokyo Ghost takes place in a future where technology has gotten out of hand. Imagine the humans from Wall-E but instead of living in the beautifully clean spaceship they are stuck at the bottom, hellish levels of Los Angeles in Blade Runner. In fact, this is Los Angeles, but this is the L.A. of 2089 where we have given in to the connected world. Everyone is jacked in to multiple forms of entertainment that is beamed directly into their eyes, ears and every other sensory organ in their bodies. Implants and self administered drugs are common and most of the world has checked out of reality which probably isn’t such a bad idea considering how bad the world is around them.
Living within this world are constables Led Dent and Debbie Decay. They take care of things that need taken care of and they are the best at what they do. Led is a beefed up tank who spends all of his time in the digital world while somehow is able to function as a feared patrolman of the L.A. streets. Debbie keeps Led on track while watching him disappear into the technology to which he has become addicted. Debbie, one of the few left not connected to the digital world, cares deeply for Led but can’t stand what he has become. She loves him completely and knows the person she once knew is still inside if only she could get him away from the digital hell L.A. has become. Soon she finds her paradise in the last, unconnected place in the world but keeping Led away from his addiction is more difficult than she can imagine. Debbie is sure if she can get Led to the green lands of Tokyo he might break his addiction and come back to her.
It is hard to talk about the last issue of a series without giving everything away. The series has been great in both story and art from start to finish and it was always the first book I read when it was in my stack. I am actually very disappointed to read this issue and know that the story is over, at least for now. This is one of those books I looked forward to every month. Sean Murphy is off to DC Comics (this title is published by Image Comics) for a year long Batman project so I have to wonder if the series ended as was originally intended or if they wrapped it up knowing Murphy would be unavailable for some time. However, if this is how it is supposed to end then I am OK with how it wrapped up. It isn’t necessarily a happy ending but it is a good ending.
I often think about how things might be if we got the world Debbie wants and I am torn between wishing for it and hoping never to see it in my lifetime. I think that is about all one can really hope for in a book. If something entertains while making you evaluate your life and your world then it has done a good job and Tokyo Ghost hits all of those notes. I think it can be a little heavy handed at times but then again I don’t know that our society really sees what is happening so maybe what I view as heavy handed is really more subtle to the rest of the audience. Really I think that is my only criticism of the series. The art is fantastic and really suits the subject matter. Murphy’s art is deeply detailed and there are all kinds of little bits in the background worth seeking out. I am honestly a bit sad that I won’t have this world to return to every month.
Remender’s new book, Seven to Eternity, comes out tomorrow and it will be a must read. I think Tokyo Ghost is my first Remender but I will be on any independent book he publishers in the future. I am also reading his series Black Science in trade paperback form and it is awesome as well. This guy can really handle some Sci-Fi. I also understand that Deadly Class and Low are excellent but as much as I might want to I just can’t read everything. I am still waiting to hear more about Murphy’s new Batman project and Hollingsworth is working with Remender again on Seven to Eternity. If you check out anything these guys do in the future I suspect it will be worth your time.