Alienation

Inés Estrada. Fantagraphics, $19.99 (250p) ISBN 978-1-683961-89-5
In this witty and original sci-fi debut, Estrada crafts a twisting technological cautionary tale set in a world where the climate has been radically changed. In balmy Alaska, two young lovers try to enjoy the last throes of the anthropocene, as computers seem poised to inherit the Earth. Eliza and Charly live more fully online than IRL, thanks to “Googleglands” implanted in their cerebellums that whisk them away to virtual reality. Estrada renders the immersive digital landscape of blue skies, jungles, real sushi, and other extinct delights in complex details—a stark contrast to the barren, washed-out panels of the couple’s actual empty apartment. “I’m pretty sure that only a few years ago, being trapped in a bare room used to be, like, torture,” Eliza says. But her rent-paying gig as a virtual sex worker takes a turn for the torturous when an algorithmic avatar decides to impregnate her. The result is mind-bending body horror that melds a critique of corporate control with the all-too-human reality that it’s hard to trust anyone, AI or otherwise. Estrada’s weird and wrecked world could easily slip into a tedious hallucination, but the strong narrative and shrewdly drawn characters carry the reader through the chaos. The plot’s many turns match the complexity of Estrada’s dreamy, innovative imagery; it’s the graphic novel equivalent of the movie Her on acid. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/21/2019
Release date: 04/30/2019
Genre: Comics
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