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‘Arcadia #8:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Alex Paknadel and Eric Scott Pfeiffer, having organically stuffed more ideas into a story than most people do in ten, bring their eight-issue series, Arcadia, to an end, albeit a bittersweet one. And, surprisingly, what started out as a sci-fi series about an artificial society laced with all the political and societal allegories that go along with it, ended up pulling a fast one as it zeroed in on what was actually the family drama at its core. The pitch: Humanity faced a pandemic and uploaded most all of the population into a simulated world known as Arcadia, leaving the few who were immune to the disease in what is known as the Meat, or the real world. This creates divisions on all levels in incredibly inventive ways, and the family at the center of it has to go through some pretty trippy, mind-bending, reality-subverting things to become as whole as they can be in the end.

At times, the ideas presented through imagery felt inspired by modern art as opposed to graphic novel – filmic storytelling. No doubt it’s a hefty read, but one that’s worthwhile – especially if you’re a sci-fi fan, especially if you like political intrigue that reaches into the subconscious of not only the characters but into collective subconscious of society as a whole. The world of Arcadia is rich and dynamic.

However, Paknael and Pfeiffer do give in to their own nerd tendencies at times. Here, two giant figures fighting within the crumbling city of Arcadia reminds me of Evangelion or Godzilla. And that’s the brilliant thing about this book; it approaches pretty complex issues within the context of hard sci-fi allowing it to play at times within a familiar (and enjoyable) landscape. Books like this make me giddy and are one of the causes for the continuing tide of people growing cold towards some of the bigger comic companies and showing more attention to companies like BOOM! and Image. Keep it up!