By Olly MacNamee.
Debuting at Leamington Comic Con next Saturday, October 17th, Mike Garley and Joshua Sherwell unleash their fourth issue of Kill Screen onto the masses, offering their growing readership a conclusion of sorts to the current story arc, but a promise of more to come too.
Set in a future dystopia where the digital world has successfully attacked the virus that is humanity, the story of Chris and his band of merry men and women takes place two years after the event and what remains of humanity has to do it's damned best to either hide away or battle on against a would be digital dictatorship. It is a world that has been transformed into a digitally dominated domain where at any time it can spell 'game over' for any human survivors if caught out.
And, while it is a world of danger, it is also a world that Garley has fun with. 'Followers' in this realm are not a good thing and troll you to your death in most cases. When a human is turned, I could not help but be reminded of Sims: a whole civilization controlled by its player. This digitally dominated world is no different and once you're turned, you are part of a bigger, emotionless machine with one, collective deadly goal. And it is these thoughtful, knowing inclusions that give some respite to the digital dystopian and allows the reader in on the dark humour at work here.
These nods to the modern world and our reliance on Facebook, Twitter and gaming are introduced and used in a meaningful and menacing way, but it also offers the reader a veneer of black humour too. I mean, the main antagonist is called Cats, a subject that the internet never seems to tire of, even if I have. Here, Cats is a 21st Century digital boy who's sole aim is to connect what remains of our species to a world wide web that takes away free will, free thought, freedom itself. In this world, humanity has to once more connect physically, face to face, if they want to build, grow, survive.
Issue 4 brings this first Kill Screen adventure to an end, but what it leaves in its wake is a well defined world ripe for future stories and future exploits pitting man against modem. With the first three issues still available and the fourth now rounding off this first season, ask your LCBS or seek out Garley and Sherwell at a comic con near you. Oh, such as this weekend's Leamington Comic Con, where they will be joined by their letterer, Mike Stock and taking the time to talk to me about their comic series, indie publishing and other flights of fancy too no doubt.
But, until then, enjoy this exclusive Bleeding Cool preview.
Olly MacNamee teaches English and Media, for his sins, in a school somewhere in Birmingham. Some days, even he doesn't know where it is. Follow him on twitter @ollymacnamee or read about his exploits at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or don't. You can also read his articles fairly frequently at www.bleedingcool.com too.