By Sara Kenney, John Watkiss, James Delvin, and Jared Fletcher.
Surgeon X is a new title released from Image that is a futuristic medical thriller, in a future where antibiotics do not work and people who pay the most receive the best medical care. At the heart of the story are two twin sisters, Dr. Rosa Scott and Martha, a Microbiologist. When Martha is on the verge of continuing their Mom’s research on Burmese antibiotics, Rosa thinks she can help out her funding with completing a routine appendectomy. The only thing non-routine about it is that she would need to complete the surgery through VR on a patient through a Satellite link up. If she can perform it she can hopefully get her sister the funding she needs, and change the world.
Surgeon X 5 takes a deeper look through the dark lens writer Sara Kenney paints of a not so distant medical future where antibiotics are ineffective from repeated overuse and the rich receive the best care because they can afford it. The heroine of the story, Rosa, is somewhat of a renegade, rebelling against authority, but in this issue easily giving into performing a surgery for some rich jerk for a payday. Yes, her intentions are pure, but it appears she has no qualms with doing the surgery, almost giving into the world and rules she rebelled against. This is a big moral contradiction for the character, and one writer Kenney should have maybe given more time and consideration too.
Surgeon X really delivers in embracing the dark, cynical world through the art from Watkiss, colors from Delvin, and letters from Fletcher. The pages are dark, yet crisp giving a real surgical precision feel to the panels. The dark, think lines and shadowing do feel a little over emphasized at times making it hard to distinguish characters in some panels. The best panels are the flashback panels to Martha and Rosa’s childhood, where an electrical storm caused a tree to fall over in their backyard and it provided a unique opportunity for the sisters to bond. The electrical storm and day after events where depicted beautifully, Martha’s bright yellow rain slicker stands out as a symbol of youth and cleanliness against Rosa’s red rain jacket. The lines and colors seem to get cleaner and more vivid when inside the operating room, perhaps a reflection of Rosa’s mindset, being at peace when she is doing what she loves. Overall, the great use of the art talent is not enough to make sense of story without a sense of purpose.
The story overall from Kenney feels rushed, and hurried without a purpose as there is no looming threat or bad guy breathing down the neck of our heroine. The main plot feels heavy burdened by her own personal backstory of her mom’s death, complicated sibling relationships, and own personal attempt at saving the world as a one woman surgeon. Despite the art being beautiful and feeling at place in the story’s setting in the year 2036, the real bones of the story do not seem to be set yet. The main character is certainly fleshed out, but there are a lot of minor stories creeping up around that make the book as a whole feel flustered and cluttered. Just like a classic black dress, sometimes over accessorizing is the worst thing you can do and that is what this story feels like; a simple black dress with one too many pieces of jewelry added on.