Review - Cyclops #1

Had a chance to take a gander at Archia’s latest import (translation) from France and Belgium- Cyclops #1. And- I’ve gotta say- I’m sort of pleasantly surprised.

I think (at the risk of offending the writer Matz and illustrator Luc Jacamon) Cyclops is very ‘missable’, just at a glance. Featuring a Halo-like war-time future, the basic premise of the comic is this: advanced technology allows soldiers in the field to broadcast video data to command and control personnel, as well as to major news networks across the world. Hence the name: Cyclops. The camera is the ‘eye’.

Okay. So that’s the gimmick, I suppose.

What strikes me about the comic is the really sophisticated sensibility of the story, however. Granted, the dialogue is a little ‘clunky’ (it’s a translation), but what I see coming together is a complex and cautionary tale about the nature of war. Most notably? What happens when the human race gets TOO GOOD at it. We use to be afraid that Russia and the United States would let loose with nuclear missles at obliterate the entire world.

And now? War is precise. Contained. Something you can watch happen, at home, on television. There’s a whole industry around it- from private ‘security’ firms to media journalists who win pulitzers for traveling in wartime areas… It’s sort of like war doesn’t have to destroy society anymore. War can just sort of happen. People get killed and lines change, but never so much that most people living outside of a disputed area have to do much but sit around in their homes and talk about their feelings about what’s happening on TV. It’s scary stuff. And this seemingly futuristic comic book hits disturbingly close to home, complete with open debate among United Nations members about openly legalizing and sanctioning the actions of privatized military forces (mercenaries).

I’m a fan of the book’s pacing, as well. If you’re into the whole high-octane, guns-blazing action-drama of most superhero comics (and I know you are. Admit it), you’re likely to find this book painfully slow. But I think it’s the gritty realism that’s supposed to kind of stick with you while you read it. Watching someone get shot should be a disturbing experience. Hell, LEARNING to SHOOT someone should be a disturbing experience. I think Matz really wants you to THINK about the action, not just take in over-the-top eye candy.

Thumbs up on the art by Jacamon, too. I’m afraid my attempts to describe it would probably offend most trained artists, since I couldn’t tell you what school or style it emulates. But it’s got this dreamy, Aeon Flux thing kind of going on I think. And the conceptual design of the architecture of the world the characters live in is REALLY impressive- like the kind of thing you’d see in storyboards for Hollywood films or something.

If you’re looking for something different, a little more thought provoking, you might be surprised with this book. Recommended. Interiors below.