Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review - Riders

"But shouldn't your phone live inside you too?"

Smartphones are pretty much extensions of their users. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who has a Smartphone who doesn't think they've more or less changed their lives. It's only a matter of time before these devices become something more than just what's in your pocket and it's a future addressed in Riders.

Riders is written by Joshua Hammonds, illustrated by Joshua Cassara and lettered by Jason Arthur.

Kenkyucorp is more or less the Apple in the world, offering consumers the latest and greatest in devices. In fact, their latest device is so great that it connects the device to the user biologically, making all facets of using it more intuitive than just swiping the screen. Like all big companies though, there's a seedy underbelly to the manufacturing and creation of the new devices. Riders exposes that culture in a big and explosive way.

Hammonds posits a somewhat scathing evaluation of the way companies do business. Many companies have been in the news lately for their treatment of factory workers (Foxconn comes to mind) and Riders really focuses on those mistreated workers getting revenger. It's a blunt look at society's over-reliance on products created half a world a way in almost unconceivable conditions. Action is taken on behalf of the workers that leaves a body count and proves there are more than enough willing soldiers.

Black and white art carries the book and Cassara does a good job with it. The main character looks sufficiently terrifying and always makes a grand entrance on a motorcycle. There are some great panels depicting the carnage offered by the Rider and the lack of color doesn't make it overtly bloody. Backgrounds don't show the most detail, which doesn't necessarily hurt the book, but it does make some pages feel a little incomplete.

Riders is a rather poignant take on consumer obsession. Granted, it offers a rather extreme response to those conditions, but it does make you think at least a little bit. People want what they want when they want it and that goes for both consumers and creators. The book comes together quite nicely and may make you think another second or two the next time you break out your phone for the IMDB app.

Riders is available now via comiXology.


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