Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele carry on the fine tradition of Philip K. Dick in their graphic novel, The Surrogates. Dick was best known for his paranoid vision of the future, tinged with an obsessive portrayal of the future as bleak and dystopian, and a mildly recurring theme of women in diaphanous attire. Luckily, this book skips out on the diaphanous bit and focuses on the future, grimy and noir as hell. Mankind has progressed to the ultimate in vicarious pleasure, living life through a not-so-flesh-and-blood that walks the streets in its name. 92% of mankind has a surrogate, a robotic replica they can design and tailor to their whims, who walks around as them. It doesn’t matter if this surrogate gets drunk, has illicit affairs or even gets killed, since the original human is always safely ensconced in their bedroom at home, enjoying life through their puppet.
A couple of surrogates get killed and the police suspect the hand of the Prophet Zaire Powell III, a throwback to some sort of Old Testament figure, full of fire and brimstone, keen to exorcise mankind’s abominations. It’s not homosexuals or Jews or coloured people in this version of bigotry, it’s the abominations, the surrogates. Of course, the cops suspect Zaire of inciting violence, but they have no proof. Zaire is busy fomenting his rabble to fight on the day of reckoning, but he is innocent of these specific murders. They turn out to be the work of one Lionel Cantor, the inventor of the surries, a man who was dismayed to see surrogates being marketed to the pre-teen crowd.
The story is a good one and gripping at times. The artwork is very angular and bichromatic at times, but that would only make Dick proud. Get this one if you like futuristic noir books and are not easily depressed.