Megadeath

Tory Quinn, with Marie Vibbert. Level 4, $18.95 trade paper (310p) ISBN 978-1-64630-066-2

With this middling cyberpunk tale of technology gone haywire, Quinn (Twilight of the Gods) and Vibbert (Galactic Hellcats) send bereaved mother and obsessive athlete Megan Mori to compete in a dangerous game, pitting her against both other players and herself. It’s 2112, and Megan’s only child was euthanized due to overpopulation, leaving Megan embittered and bent on competing in MegaDeath, the international, virtual-reality gladiatorial game that has replaced all-out wars in the face of rising waters and dwindling food supplies. Losers at lower levels of these games merely suffer intense pain, but the highest level losers die by the poisoned collars that they fasten to themselves before entering the competition. Megan quickly becomes the star of Team North America as it rises through the world tournament ranks en route to a protracted finale full of vicious violence, revelations of Big Brother–style governmental abuses, and even an unconvincing love triangle. The premise and character motivations strain credulity, and the profusion of video game–style fight sequences leaves little room for character development. For an audience that appreciates purely fast-and-furious action, this might work, but those looking for depth can take a pass. (July)
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