cover image IDP: 2043

IDP: 2043

Denise Mina, Barroux, Hannah Berry, Kate Charlesworth, et al. . Freight, $24.95 (260p) ISBN 978-1-908-75463-9

Set in a near future when ordinary people starve and corporations control agriculture, this dystopian tale boasts a bold structure, using the anthology format for a larger narrative, but never quite takes successful advantage of it. The story centers on Sky Farm, the prototype for a system of skyscraping industrial farms. As part of the publicity campaign, Sky Farm gets a reality television show. But the host, Cait McNeil, is causing some problems on the farm and behind the camera with her confident skepticism. She unleashes a series of events that traverses this collection of shorter pieces by different writers and artists. Unfortunately, the story unfolds more like a checklist of social commentary topics%E2%80%94GMOs, income equality, the emptiness of reality television, corporate control%E2%80%94than anything organic, and that hampers the enjoyment. The characters function more as stereotypes for editorial agendas, progressive mouthpieces that spout ideas readers can%E2%80%99t disagree with, but in no way fashioning an entertaining science fiction story. The art is variable, and the lighthearted and stylized contributions of Adam Murphy and Barroux stand out as moving beyond the standard action comic styles that dominate the book. (Dec.)