By Ales Kot, Langdon Foss & Jordie Bellaire
The solicits listed this title as Moebius meets District 9. That is not an apt description of The Surface, it’s more Matrix than District 9. This is a dense premiere issue. There’s a lot at play in terms of plot, subtext, and format. What readers need to know is that the story is set in the near future, where a trio of young hackers journey to uncover the truth behind the Holographic Universe Theory. It’s exactly how it sounds, the idea that our entire universe is a just a hologram. If said theory is to be believed then the source of the projection must be somewhere and will no doubt change the face of reality…
I read through this comic twice; it forces the reader to be an active participant. This isn’t a bad thing at all; challenging the audience is something that should merit respect in any medium. At times though, it just feels like an absolute chore because Ales Kot is introducing concepts that seem very strange, very much like some of Grant Morrison’s work.
Also, there are pages that read like internet articles that are so vague it’s hard to determine their significance or role in the overall narrative. The best part of the book is the social commentary. Kot along with Langdon Foss and Jordie Bellaire envision a future where everyone is connected and capitalism reigns. This type of realistic science fiction is always fascinating to traverse.
Foss and Bellaire vividly bring this world to life with detailed artwork. The characters are very defined and emote effectively. Langdon’s work seems very reminiscent of Chris Burnham, which is a plus in my book. The colors used in the landscapes and backgrounds are stellar. Jordie also isn’t heavy-handed when working on the characters; she highlights them against the background in the panels, a sign of a talented colorist.
What hinders The Surface is its inaccessibility to a general audience. Perhaps that’s intentional? Also, considering how much material this creative team is trying to present, waiting for a new issue every month will hurt the overall impact. This book is worth checking out, but I’d recommend waiting for the trade paperback release.