Narcopolis, Issues #1-4

September 1st, 2008 by

Narcopolis was absolutely phenomenal.

This four-part miniseries was essentially about a future in which one city, (or citystate, we don’t really know how big it is), has colonized the world. This is meant in the historical “exploiting the indigenous cultures” sort of way, except that, as far as we can tell, the entire rest of the world is part of the exploited culture. But all we really see of it are a few African tribes getting blown to smithereens, so I guess that part isn’t especially explicit.

Anyway, you don’t really know whether the main character, named Gray Neighbor, is a freedom fighter, or just one lucky bastard who manages to escape the fascist state a few times, and ends up ultimately in training for the police force.

The first thing that really stood out for me about Narcopolis was the dialog. Anyone who has read George Orwell’s 1984 will probably be reminded of newspeak. As with reading 1984 for the first time, I felt the language really set the book apart from standard fiction (in this case comic book fiction), and really just sounded and felt totally different from what I’d consider to be every day conversational English. You could also tell that writer Jamie Delano really put a lot of thought and effort into the dialog, mostly because it never felt forced or unrealistic.

The parallels to 1984 don’t stop at the dialogue. There are all kinds of elements of the police state at play here, but I don’t want to say too much about plot, because the sense of discovery is part of the attraction of this comic, or it was for me anyway.

The art in Narcopolis is also pretty spectacular. Jeremy Rock appears to have a pretty publishing limited history, (especially when compared to Jamie Delano), but he more than holds his own by giving us a vivid glimpse into this distopia. I should probably mention that there is quite a bit of nudity in this comic, and it’s not for children both visually and thematically.

In short, Narcopolis absolutely blew me away. I am so far behind in reading stuff that the first three issues of this had sat unread on my shelves until this week when issue #4 came out and I resolved to read them all forthwith. Mostly I just wanted to make sure I’d read them before any more issues came out and I would then have had to decide whether to buy another issue of something I hadn’t yet read. Turns out, issue #4 was actually the last in the series, so I needn’t have worried. But I’m glad I did, because it gave me the push I needed to finally read these, and damn was it worth it!

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