Fighting For Humanity
♦ Killtopia is a new series published by BHP Comics and Tripwire’s contributing writer Alasdair Stuart took a look at Volume 1…
Killtopia Volume 1
Written by Dave Cook
Art by Craig Paton
Lettering by Robin Jones
Flatting by Ludwig Olimba
Humanity is being overwritten. In a city slowly falling to a nanotechnological plague and being edited into a new existence by non-sentient robots, the only thing standing between humanity and destruction are the Wreckers. Flamboyant rock stars of brutality, they kill the robots for scrap and fame, even as the nanotechnological Rot overwrites the DNA of everyone who isn’t immune. Once a year, the Wreckers drop their non aggression pact and compete in an all out, no holds barred, war with a cash prize for the last one standing.
Shinji is a Wrecker. Shinji is an amateur, scavenging to pay for his sisters anti-Rot medicine. And Shinji, when he meets Crash, the first sentient mech, is in more trouble than anyone else in the city has ever been before…
There is nothing here that fails to impress. Olimba and Paton’s layouts nail that near impossible moving target of precision squalor that truly great Cyberpunk demands and the book never fails to look amazing. There’s a scene, a static tracking shot if you like, following Shinji and Crash down a street which is one of the two most impressive pages I’ve seen this year. On a smaller scale, there are countless little human gestures scattered through the book, tics and motions that make everyone, even Crash, more human. That’s helped immense by Jones’ subtle lettering too.
All of which throws Cook’s already impressive script into even starker light. This is a book that at around the quarter mark you’re pretty certain isn’t going to work. Shinji, Crash, Shinji’s supports system, two different Wrecker or Wrecker aligned factions and a corporation are all in play with massive themes of sentience, personal choice, class and dystopia wrapped around them, You keep expecting the book to fly apart, to put a foot wrong and it never, ever does.
This is a story which embodies all of those complicated themes, wraps them in some very fun action and smart ideas, puts all that inside some gorgeous design work and throws all of it at your face. It’s effortlessly confident and successful which of course means everyone involved will have sweated blood to get it done and it manages the near impossible task of being a great first volume and setting everything up to come. ALl of that on top of introducing us to a complex and difficult world and establishing emotional arcs for its principles.
Killtopia is vastly impressive, in every way. High octane action, massive science fiction ideas, a big cast and a punk aesthetic mean it walks like a heavyweight and punches like a super heavyweight. A startlingly strong debut, an embodiment of everything cyberpunk does well and one of the best science fiction comics I’ve read so far this year. Utterly recommended.
Killtopia#1 is out now from BHP Comics