Writer: Sean Lewis
Publisher: Image Comics
Charlie Fellows aka Thumbs is one of many orphans living in a trailer park turned training compound. What they believe is an interactive video game, Fortress has been training them for violence for years. Adrian Camus has built this digital training ground that has been militarizing the likes of Thumbs and Nia, bringing them to the compound Fortress Victory. Forgotten or discarded by their parents, Thumbs and his sister Tabitha are raised by a digital parenting module named MOM. MOM prepares their meals as well as punishes them for acting out, but will not hesitate to put themselves in danger to rescue them from harm.
The digital game turns deadly when an attack has put Thumbs in a coma. He awakens to find a world where technology has nearly been eradicated and his sister Tabitha has been indoctrinated into the anti-technology government known as The Power, which teaches that using technology is self indulgent and narcissistic. Meanwhile, Nia has spent the last several years rising through the ranks of the resistance, but has her share of battle wounds, both physical and mental. Now Nia and Thumbs, along with the battle-worn MOM, find each other again and team up to rescue Tabby, but they know that doing so will not solve the structure of inequality and systematic injustice that put people like Adrian Camus at the top.
The story that Sean Lewis and Hayden Sherman brings could easily be described as an adventure that turns Ready Player One into an episode of Black Mirror. It may seem like a dark view of our future, but the dystopian tale has a lot to say. It tackles our society’s hatred of violence against children but that our addiction to technology possibly plays a part. Is this a prediction of what’s to come for us? Is banning violence, technology, or both the answer? It seems like this story doesn’t quite have an answer to that, but the least we can hope for is that the revolution will be live-streamed.