Upgrade Soul

Ezra Claytan Daniels. Lion Forge, $19.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-5493-0292-3
In this innovative and exquisitely drawn sci-fi graphic novel, an aging couple grapples with what it means to be human. Molly, a brilliant geneticist, and Hank, a famous comics creator, celebrate their 40th anniversary in a most unusual way: undergoing an experimental operation to clone themselves. Under the eye of an unsavory scientist, the operation goes awry, leaving Hank and Molly mentally and physically weakened—and their clones as “mutant fetuses” who retain their sparkling intelligence but resemble fleshy potatoes. Daniels originally serialized the story on an interactive iPhone app, complete with an original musical score. The adaptation to the printed page doesn’t lose that inventive spirit, while cunningly executed expressions make each character feel deeply real, with warm and thoughtful coloring throughout. At the heart of this complex, cutting-edge comic is an old-fashioned tale: that love gives life its meaning. On a bed that resembles a life raft in a chaotic cloning clinic, Hank returns from a conversation with his doppel-brainer to hug Molly tightly, their wedding bands touching on their knotted, wrinkled hands. “I’m so lucky to have you, Molly,” he says. “Just the way you are.” This immersive, touching sci-fi narrative weaves around central philosophical questions about identity, appealing to both genre and art comics fans. Agent: Chad Luibl, Janklow & Nesbit (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
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