Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Sean Murphy & Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Image Comics
Summary from Comixology: “The Isles of Los Angeles 2089: Humanity is addicted to technology, a population of unemployed leisure seekers blissfully distracted from toxic contamination, who borrow, steal, and kill to buy their next digital fix. Getting a virtual buzz is the only thing left to live for. It’s the biggest industry, the only industry, the drug everyone needs, and gangsters run it all. And who do these gangsters turn to when they need their rule enforced? Constables Led Dent and Debbie Decay. This duo is about to be given a job that will force them out of the familiar squalor of Los Angeles to take down the last tech-less country on Earth: The Garden Nation of Tokyo.
Bestselling writer RICK REMENDER (BLACK SCIENCE, DEADLY CLASS) and superstar art team SEAN MURPHY (CHRONONAUTS, Punk Rock Jesus) and MATT HOLLINGSWORTH (WYTCHES, Hawkeye) examine our growing addiction to technology while thirsting for a nature we continue to destroy.”
I’m a Remender fan. Have been for a while. I own the omnibus of his Punisher run, I really loved his run of Captain America, and I’m constantly singing the praises of all of his creator-owned series like Low, Black Science, and (my current personal favorite) Deadly Class. Also, the way that he updated Venom is, in my opinion, the best evolution of any comic book character ever, and if you haven’t read at least the beginning of that run then you need to do that now.
Recently, Rick announced that he was taking a break from for-hire work so that he could put all of his focus into his creator-owned series. I fully respect that. I think the current climate of comic book publishing easily weighs on the side of independent series. When you ask people what comics they’re reading the majority of them are probably going to say Walking Dead or Saga very first, before maybe moving on to Batman or Spider-Man. All of your favorite comic book writers and artists from Marvel and DC are also writing books that they conceptualized themselves, and release through independent publishers. I mean, indie comics are so hot right now.
I knew that I was going to love Tokyo Ghost within the first five pages, and by the time I was half-way through it I was convinced I was adding it to my pull-list. Granted, being the Remender fanboy that I am, you could probably accurately deduce that I was likely going to add it to my pull-list anyway, but still, it’s a damn fine first issue.
As I was reading it I was thinking to myself, “Man, there’s so much here that reminds me of Mad Max.” Then in his column at the end of the issue, Rick explains that Road Warrior, as well as Judge Dread and 13 Assassins, were huge influences on the idea for Tokyo Ghost. It’s really clear too in the setting and design. The decrepit, degenerated future where technology is god and society has plunged into perversion and cruelty, is a perfect blend of the Road Warrior wasteland, and the Judge Dredd dystopian society.
Plus, how about that art?! Sean Murphy’s artwork is so f—ing GOOD. I love how it’s clear and easy to comprehend, but it’s still very detailed and complex in a lot of areas. He recently did Chrononauts with Mark Millar and I really loved his work in that book as well. Joining him on coloring is Matt Hollingsworth, who also worked on Chrononauts (as well as the absolutely fantastic Suiciders, with Lee Bermejo). Matt’s color work is phenomenal. He captures this faded look without loosing any clarity or definition. It’s amazing and impressive.
Tokyo Ghost #1 is a fantastic first issue. Definitely one of my top five #1 issues this year. It’s intense, and brutal, and even ends on a pretty emotionally-heavy tone. I liked the ending a lot because there was almost closure, like you could stop if you wanted to, but I don’t want to. I still genuinely want to know what’s gonna happen next. If you like apocalyptic-style sci-fi comics then I highly recommend you check out this #1 issue before your local comic shop sells out of them. It’s THAT good!
Music Pairing –
I had a tough time deciding on a music pairing for this issue. I knew I wanted to choose a Japanese metal (or metal-ish) band, but I wasn’t sure which one. I considered Boris and also BABYMETAL, but ultimatley I settled on Crossfaith. These guys play modern metalcore without any of the mediocrity that comes along with most metalcore bands these days. Their new album XENO comes out Friday so jam this new track of theirs (feat. Caleb from the band Beartooth) called “Ghost in the Mirror”!