COMIC REVIEW: Gregory Suicide HC

A futuristic tale of AI with a twist. A revolution against the human creators. I’m in. Welcome to the world of Gregory Suicide, written by Eric Grissom (Planet Gigantic) and drawn by debutant Will Perkins IV. The hook in Gregory Suicide is that the AIs are given cloned, flesh-and-blood bodies to inhabit. So they have the ability to be programmed but have physical human frailties. And of course, they rise up…

The obsolete AI program Gregory wakes in a newly cloned body to a world now unfamiliar to him and is haunted by the memories of his past lives, each one ending in death by his own hand. On the path to discovering the truth about himself, Gregory slips into the trenches of two opposing forces that want to exploit him. In the end, he must take down an AI revolution before it wipes out humanity, and the key to doing so may only lie in the strange visions he has between life and death.

I am frustrated by this comic book. It is full of interesting ideas. But also of cliché. It has great witty dialogue, and some clunky stuff too. The colouring suits my tastes but I find the drawn lines too neat and characters too clinically drawn.

Gregory is the prototype, created by Amala Malek; a genius who was later disgraced. Some years later, Gregory is revived, but he is superseded by the Gemini project. Again, clones with AIs but superior in every way. There’s something known as a morphic field that connects the AIs. Gregory finds himself naked and confused. He tries to befriend a dog but it runs off, scared. He’s eventually found by a group that includes Amala’s granddaughter. It soon becomes clear that something bigger is going on. This is a world that seems perfect but might be a dystopia, in an Orwellian sense. But has moments of various robots-rise-up-against-their-creators ideas (such as Bladerunner, Terminator and Supertoys Last All Summer Long).

The story is fairly straight forward. There’s a safe with a solution to the morphic field problem, and it turns out that Gregory can crack the safe, so the group must work together to save the world. Problems occur along the way. Tragedies happen and loyalties are tested. I like that Gregory has a ‘special’ tee, which is a nice touch, but the fact that there are two Big Bads under the Gemini umbrella…Anyway. There are some decent action set pieces and some of the characters are interesting if not completely engaging. Other than Gregory and Amala (and maybe Beans), no-one really stands out. Part of the story is told in flashbacks, or maybe visions, which brings me nicely to the art.

The story’s present is told in shades of grey and blue, with splashes of cerise every now and then to indicate the gore. Which makes for some striking and beautiful imagery. The full page panel of Gregory sitting in the pile of corpses is one such glorious image. The flashbacks, telling of Gregory’s origins, are browns and oranges, and again are striking and effective. There is occasionally a flashback panel inserted in the present, giving a nice juxtaposition. The characters are drawn as the cyberpunks and the hackers that we’ve all seen before. Nothing wrong in that of course, but because every line is so straight and every panel is so clean, it loses impact. Corporate punk. Almost like a CG animated film, rather than a hand-drawn book. Which is simply not to my taste.

The climax and some of the reveals are, I think, a little obvious. Some of the ideas are fun, and Gregory himself is a decent protagonist. Which makes me think that Gregory Suicide is a bit of a lost opportunity for a comic book that could have been terrific. Some tighter storytelling, some more interesting characterisation and less of a polished look, would have seen this book really float my boat.

The hard copy includes bonus sketches, designs, and commentary from the creators.

Title: Gregory Suicide

Publisher: Dark Horse

Rating: 3/5

Reviewer: Ian J Simpson

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