How many science fiction stories does one society need about robots taking over? Ever since Isaac Asimov came up with the rules of robots, writers have been cooking up compelling stories to show us our human frailty in the eyes of a creation that’s smarter than us. The question is though, what if they weren’t destructive and we became dependent on them. How would that change us? This comic delves into that, but is it good?
Symmetry #1 (Image Comics)
This issue opens with a page detailing how a computer artificial intelligence could be given so much power over humanity without a fight. From there it cuts to a man running for his life and a protagonist narrating. The man running is the protagonist’s brother and it does not end well for him. Who are these robots chasing him and who are the robots watching idly by the wayside?
Why does this book matter?
Though the main reason this book is good is the cliffhanger and telling you why would spoil things let’s just say this is not your stereotypical robots taking over story. Instead humanity has given their free up willfully to ensure peace. Much like the fat humans floating in outer space in Wall-E — humanity in this comic no longer has to worry. Until they do, but for reasons you would not expect…
Robots are such liars!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Writer Matt Hawkins does a fantastic job fleshing out and making this future very plausible. It’s slightly unnerving, but also wistful and easy to see why humans would want to live with less control but total comfort. Readers should buy into this story rather quickly, which helps set up the hook nicely. Essentially if we gave our free will away and it all worked out wouldn’t we become helpless? One might argue this is yet another story of people setting themselves up to fail, but there’s something brewing underneath it all that should be exciting as the story progresses.
The characters are strong and well rendered particularly because it’s easy to relate to their place in the world. Sure they might have a robot talking in their head from birth, and culturally it’s very different and weird from our own, but it all makes logical sense. Who wouldn’t want an easier and more peaceful life? Of course if that’s all taken away however we’re in for a major crisis which is also a major reason why this story is compelling.
The art by Raffaele Ienco looks painted with a great sense of color when it comes to skin tones. This must be on purpose to make the people more fleshy and alive amongst their robotic purple headed overlords. There’s a lot of detail when it comes to backgrounds and setting too which helps distinguish this taking place in the future. Aside from a very cool double page spread most of the technology doesn’t look too far removed from what we have now. Even the robots are slightly clunky as if Ienco and Hawkins want us to be able to stick ourselves into this story.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Seriously what is the deal with future people wearing only white? Also how does a 13 year old choose a gender and have that work? Have we augmented our DNA that much? Kind of horrific and I hope they explain some of these intriguing ideas but likely they won’t since the world has been upturned.
Which brings up the main issue with this book and that’s how it’s very heavy on exposition. Save for the opening and closing most of this book has nothing to do with the hook of the series. It’s all exposition and explanation of a world that will soon be gone forever. Given it’s all interesting, but it’ll be interesting to see how much of the exposition matters moving forward.
As an outsider to this world I have many questions on the moral implications of the changes made to society, but Hawkins doesn’t explore them. These may be explored later so I’ll reserve judgment, but there are a lot of interesting elements that serve to show us a new and slightly scary future that are not explored well enough. That leaves the reader wanting more.
Ooo ice cream!
Is It Good?
Lovers of science fiction need to read this simply because it’s chock full of fascinating ideas and societal changes.
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