Created and Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Eryk Donovan
Colors by Adam Guzowski
Letters by Steve Wands
Published by BOOM! Studios
Release Date: 10/22/201
Evolutionary memetics describes how human beings take helpful pieces of information and spread them, to help further our species. Like how to build a fire, or spread a common language. But nowadays, that’s not the information we choose to spread - Barbara Xiang
Monday morning I received an email reminder and realized that Memetic #1 from James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan was coming out this week. I quickly went to my Twitter account and posted a picture of the “good times sloth”. I proceeded to read the issue. I almost immediately begin to feel a sense of regret, and then panic as I continued through the pages. Now I know this may sound a bit silly, but by nature I am an angst ridden person. I had to remind myself that this is just a comic book, and there is no real need for me to delete that last tweet.
Memetic tells the story about a meme of a sloth that with no explanation has a euphoric effect on people. It quickly goes viral and is viewed by an estimated 400 million people across the world. Although the comic starts off by giving us a glimpse three days after this meme goes viral, it quickly flashes back and shows us the origin of the virus. Instead of actual conversing, Memetic reminds us just how much technology and social media dominates our lives with word bubbles clearly indicating that communication here is through Twitter or texting.
One of the central characters is Aaron Sumner, a teenager who does not experience this feeling of bliss, because of an eye condition that prevents him from seeing any color other than blue (essentially color blind). We are also introduced to Marcus Shaw, a former Military Intelligence officer who immediately recognizes this as a “weaponized meme” and calls in Barbara Xiang, an expert who almost twenty years earlier predicted that such a thing could be created. Like Sumner, Shaw is not affected by the meme because he is legally blind. Most experts and leaders dismiss the image as a non-threat, but the situation quickly takes a turn for the worse.
I must admit, it is a bit disturbing and frightening to think of the possibility that someday someone could come up with a virus that can impact the human mind in a fast and effective manner like Memetic. What if something like this already exists and is out there, just designed or programmed to work in a much slower method. How would we know?
The visuals from Eryk Donovan are just as hypnotic as the sloth image itself, as this issue is exceptionally illustrated and mesmerizing to say the least. The story is unlike anything I’ve read before, and Tynion IV has created and written a remarkable first issue that is truly frightening. Memetic is an extraordinary work of art as well as a warning about the horrifying realistic threat of cyber warfare.
REVIEW: MEMETIC #1
Peter Rodriguez (Geek Sushi)