Review – City of Abacus: Volume One

City of Abacus is a fascinating title written by VV Brown and David Allain with illustration by Emma Price. The City is ruled by an evil queen who uses hybrid mind-control/mind-eraser technology to keep the citizens docile and oblivious to the world around them. Think you’ve heard this story before? Let me be the first to assure you that you haven’t. It appears that the Queen holds public addresses every fifth day of the week where she purports to address the concerns of the citizens. What actually happens is far more…sinister.

So what makes this tale unique? First of all I can definitively tell you that this story takes place neither on our world nor with humans. At first it is easy to be deceived but if you pick up the book I guarantee you’ll notice some very unique characteristics. The artwork is black and white throughout this edition but very well drawn and the story is intriguing. I can’t really think of a category I would put this title into and that can be a very good thing. It isn’t really what I would call science fiction, nor is it traditional fantasy. It almost has hints of a children’s fairy tale but I assure you it is much darker than that.

Overall, what you have here is a solid title, and the amount of content that has been put into about 13 pages is really pretty impressive. Eager to delve a little deeper into the story and perhaps get a hint at the characters involved? Please continue on after the break.

The Evil Queen knew that in time people could have the ability to rise up against her if their displeasure was ever allowed to grow. In order to find some way to prevent this and rule with an iron fist she commissioned a genius mechanic to build a machine called MX-41. The mechanic was a good man, and did not know the queens intentions for the machine, but it quickly became obvious that it altered people’s minds, removing the ability to question authority and the ways of the world leaving only conformity in its place.

One young girl named Freeda (I’m going to go with this spelling even though there are some conflicting spellings in the book, maybe one of the only mistakes or criticisms I have) seems to be the key to stopping the city. She is taken from the city after the Queen becomes aware that her mind is different by a rebel (for lack of a better word) named Juduso in order to keep her away from the Queen’s thugs. It appears that her companion, a small monkey-like creature called Lupo may play a key role in the future as well, but that remains shrouded in mystery. This issue ends with an escape leading to an unsure future, one that hopefully will lead to the freeing of the minds of the people.

As you can tell from this cryptic description (with only 13 pages I didn’t want to give too much away) this tale has quite a few fun elements. Freeda is tied to the mind control machine in a unique way. You won’t find blood and guts or anything of that nature in this comic, which is a nice change of pace by the way. You will find a level of intrigue, mystery, fresh art and writing set in a completely original world though. I think that is an exceedingly rare thing in comics these days, and while continuity is fun something like this that is appropriate for all types of readers is a fresh change of pace.

I look forward to seeing how this story turns out and frankly, so should you. If you’d like more information about this title, its influences, some interior preview art, and information as to its release and availability feel free to check out the creators website for it.

Happy reading.