Review - Duplicant #1

"Year one of the organ failure pandemic. Scale: worldwide survival rate zero."

How the world responds to a pandemic says a lot about the world. In Duplicant #1, the response is as corporate as you'd expect. The issue is written by Karla Nappi, illustrated by Marianan Strychowska (linework by Leila Del Luca), colored by Owen Gieni and lettered by Josh Reed.

Set in the future during a pandemic of organ failure, a scientist becomes a victim of his own life-saving technology.

Nappi's premise in Duplicant #1 is very fascinating as it ambrace a future where healthcare becomes a commodity and is really an indictment of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries in their current state. There's a somewhat generic pandemic wreaking havoc on the world in the issue and that's what Nappi uses as a backdrop for the premise of the story. What Nappi explores is how indebted individuals become as a result of the mere act of taking care of oneself and there are some heady moral questions to explore. There are some pacing issues in terms of Nappi jumping back and forth across scenarios, as some of the scene shifts seem rather abrupt and with no transitions. The world does seem to be relatively well-thought out though, in that Nappi populates it with characters who all react to the new normal in a variety of ways depending on their station in life.

Strychowska's artwork is slick in a way that feels futuristic and in-line with the setting of the story. It's a relatively simple and clean illustrative style that depicts a society where everyone is lean, despite the growing pandemic wreaking havoc. Del Luca's linework is best defined as wispy, with faint outlines defining the characters as they interact with one another. The panels keep things relatively organized as they rely on a standard grid with black gutters that infuse the book with a slightly more sinister appearance that's befitting of the corporation at the top of it all profiting off of organ transplants. Gieni's colors are generally pretty bright considering the tone of the book.

Duplicant #1 is an interesting first issue that looks at a terrifying direction society could be headed towards when it comes to healthcare. There's always a conflict between the greater good and profits when it comes to corporations and it seems the latter wins out for the time being. Nappi is probing diverse angles when it comes to the privatization of healthcare. Strychowska's illustrations are clean and fit the overall atmosphere of the book well. Duplicant #1 offers a somewhat grim response to a pandemic that ends up dividing the survivors instead of uniting them like such an event should.

Duplicant #1 launches on Kickstarter January 15.