Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Ivan Rodriguez
Publisher: Avatar Comics
The first two issues of Warren Ellisís new series were pretty interesting, but I couldnít quite get into them as much as I would have liked. They seemed to throw out some interesting ideas and a unique atmosphere, but never seemed to gel into a story that I felt was worth following. The protagonist, John Reinhardt/Doktor Sleepless seemed interesting, with lots of techno-fetishistic ideas and a worldview about accepting the present instead of hoping for a shiny, happy future, but he didnít seem to do much, limiting his activities to broadcasting pirate radio and nattering on to his assistant/nurse about technology like RFID implants. As a self-professed mad scientist, his motives seemed suspect, but his goals were ambiguous, and there didnít seem to be much forward motion.
Luckily, this issue seems to have kicked a sort of plot into gear, deepening the mystery between the public Doktor Sleepless and a second version of John Reinhardt who is locked in jail. This character spends much of the issue giving an Ellisian monologue about "tulpasĒ, or physical manifestations of a personís imagination, suggesting that one of the two Reinhardts is a duplicate of the other. But which one? Itís a fascinating development, and it lends a real weight to the actions of the main character. We also learn about the history of one of the characters and see some of Sleeplessí actions, but the other major development in the issue is the appearance of a seemingly crazy, murderous man with a connection to Reinhardtís past. What will his role be in upcoming issues?
Ivan Rodriguezís art is passable, and he seems to be getting better here. The first few issues seemed muddy and dark, but Iím starting to realize how that fits the feel of the book. Early issues suffered from comparisons to Ellisís Transmetropolitan, which Darick Robertson gave a simultaneously dirty and fantastical feel. Here, Rodriguez makes the world seem kind of dirty and grimy, which fits the idea of an unsatisfying present that hasnít progressed like people were hoping. Itís an interesting look, and Iím hoping he will continue to improve in the depiction of characters and backgrounds.
So Iím happy to report that Iím looking forward to reading what Ellis delivers next. I was on the fence about whether to keep reading this or not, but this issue puts me firmly in the ďeagerly awaiting moreĒ camp.
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