joshuapalmatier: VacantThrone (Default)
[personal profile] joshuapalmatier
I read The Surrogates because of the movie with Bruce Willis. The graphic novel and the movie were two completely different stories in the end and I enjoyed both. One of my main complaints about the original graphic novel, though, was that the story didn't feel as deep as it could have been. The idea of the world, of people using surrogates to live their lives, to keep them safe and to give them the freedom to live out some of their fantasies, is just too good and too perfect. It opens up a HUGE amount of possibilities, and I thought that the original book could have used this world to explore so much more.

Which meant, of course, that I needed to read the prequel graphic novel The Surrogates: Flesh and Bone to see if they did indeed play around with some of those possibilities.

Flesh and Bone takes us back to something mentioned in the original graphic novel: the attack on a homeless person by three rich teens illegally using their fathers' surrogates. The homeless man dies and suddenly the case becomes international news, bringing up the serious question of whether children should be able to use surrogates, a theme that was also addressed in the original graphic novel and was the main motivating factor behind Steeplejack (the main "bad guy" in the original). And this type of question is what I was hoping that the authors/artists would explore more about this world, what makes the world they've set up so intriguing.

Here, the graphic novel once again centers around Harvey Greer--now a beat cop--and the investigation surrounding the death of the homeless man. There's also a seedy lawyer for the father of the main kid on trial. (The father's no picnic either.) We see the origins of the Prophet, and the state of the surrogate corporation at this time period. The more interesting aspects of this graphic novel are how the corporation handles the situation, and how the law is going to be affected by not just this one situation, but by surrogates and their general use by the population. Those were the parts that intrigued me the most and held my interest. And the authors do explore these facets of the new world to some degree. The investigation gives the story a strong structure that's easy to follow, but isn't as interesting overall, especially since the first graphic novel was centered around an investigation.

So, in the end, I wasn't as satisfied or as thrilled with this prequel as I was with the original. Even though the authors explored some of what I was looking for, I STILL finished the novel wanting more. I wanted more exploration of this world, and I thought there could have been more depth in the storyline itself, especially regarding Greer and his relationship with his wife and how the introduction of surrogates into the home was affecting relationships. But it was still a good read overall. There were some nice touches to the world, and a few strong snippets of humor throughout. One particular panel had me laughing so hard I had to put the book aside to recover. Strong artwork (although not as polished in my opinion as the original) throughout, and a decent storyline. A good book. If there were more graphic novels set in this world, I'd definitely read them, because there's still a TON of things to explore.

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joshuapalmatier

April 2010

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