Writer: Christopher Sebela / Artist: Ro Stein / Image Comics
Image releases its newest bleak fantasy about the future this week in Crowded #1. Written by Christopher Sebela and drawn by Ro Stein, this book takes a different turn than what I’m used to from an Image book.
Instead of a post-apocalyptic danger zone, we get a very recent future that could easily be our world in a decade or two. This creative team showcases a world dominated by smartphones, automated service at restaurants and self-driving cars. Charlotte Edison makes her living off of the new technology-driven economy of interconnected, sharing products and services through apps.
She unexpectedly finds herself a target of a darker use of this culture. “Reapr” allows people to crowdfund assassinations, putting a public bounty on her head. What’s a girl to do? Luckily, there’s an app for that. “Dfend” connects bodyguards for hire with potential customers. Charlotte finds Vita Slater, who is considering taking her on as a client.
This book is fun! It does a great job setting up the world through a description of Charlotte’s work day. It’s a series of dog walking, babysitting, clothes and car-sharing gigs. All of them, by the way, are plausible apps. I’d be surprised if any of them, save the assassination one, didn’t have a real life parallel somewhere.
Recent technologies are sprinkled throughout the book as Vita and Charlotte get to know each other while simultaneously repelling murderous attacks. My favorite has to be the man in a self-driving car with his feet up, just chillin’. We also get a fast food spot seemingly without any employees, only automated service and a smart screen embedded in the table.
Crowded is a solid number one book. Well written, well drawn, sets up a world, sates your appetite for action, and leaves you wanting more. I’m very much excited to see where this book leads.
9 “Stolen Chihuahuas” out of 10