“Tokyo Ghost” #1 (9 out of 10) Written By Rick Remender (“Deadly Class”, “Fear Agent”); Art by Sean Murphy (“Chrononauts”, “The Wake”); Colors by Matt Hollingsworth (“Wytches”, “Hawkeye”); Published by Image Comics; Publication Date: September 16, 2015

Storytelling magic is rare in the super-saturated syrup of modern entertainment. There is so much fluff and reprocessed tropes in most stories that some may think they're created by a robotic assembly line of fiction. Magical storytelling can be found and it doesn't take an obsessed consumer to find said art. In a large enough marketplace there is never a want for fresh ideas or enlivened stories. In comics most of those stories are found in the pages of creator-owned or independently published books. That’s why I wasn’t surprised to find that the creator-owned “Tokyo Ghost” was conceived by individuals often thought of as all-star level talent for one of the big two.

Rick Remender and Sean Murphy have designed their next masterpiece in the form of a near future cyberpunk-esque sci-fi. The two have both worked on award winning comic books separately but knew they’d teamed up on a wonderfully original idea for “Tokyo Ghost”. They enlisted “coloring” Matt Hollingsworth for colors and put a great book over the top.

Best Comic Book This Week: 'Tokyo Ghost' #1

The art is bombastic, even for Sean Murphy, and gives Remender’s words an energy that doesn’t allow you to slow down. Hollingsworth’s colors give life to a semi-dystopian future painted by the creators in a future Los Angeles. A future where technology is so ubiquitous with everyday life it is used as escapism for an attention span-less population hiding from the dregs of their reality through an interconnected media network hard-wired into their physiology. Humanity is addicted and hackers have taken full advantage of the addiction. Not to be outdone, people in this future can pay "legitimate corporations" or go to the black market for nanotech augmentations to their bodies in their own form of hacking.

One of the most notorious hackers is being hunted by the protagonists Debbie Decay and Led Dent. They’re both constables for the legitimate corporation Flak Entertainment. Flak has assigned them to hunt down a mass murdering psycho Davey Trauma. If they capture or kill the fugitive then they can escape to Japan and possibly repair her and Led’s relationship which is in a rough spot due to Led’s technology dependence. Debbie is also a woman who has no techno-biological modifications.  

Best Comic Book This Week: 'Tokyo Ghost' #1

In the future humanity evolved from our obsessions with our mobile phones to being captives to networked media. The things we own certainly own us in a parasitic symbiosis but not in Japan where their entire society abandons technology. Debbie believes Japan will give Led the psychological relief he sorely needs as he watches multiple social network feeds while watching his favorite programs via a heads up display he uses all at the same time as he is hunting down Davey Trauma.

The final page is a short letter from Remender about the book and its inception. It also teases some artwork from an upcoming issue with an amazing rendition of a 18th century Samurai. I’m a sucker for that kind of artwork so to see that this story does end up in Japan and that there will be Samurai is a thrill that, for me, put this book over the top. The original setting with its distinct and unique world is the perfect scaffolding for a love story. I would guess most readers will miss the love story for the kick ass action and Easter eggs like “Remender sucks at ritting comix”/”Murphy has gone downhill” Twitter posts that will make astute readers chuckle. “Tokyo Ghost” is an explosive first issue and I’m counting down the days until I get more.

 

TL;DR Remender, Murphy & Hollingsworth make original storytelling look easy in the explosive first issue of “Tokyo Ghost”, their near future cyberpunk-esque sci-fi love story. Oh, and upcoming issues will have samurai as the story moves from technologically addicted L.A. to the Luddite world of future Japan.

Best Comic Book This Week: 'Tokyo Ghost' #1
Image(s): Image Comics


Best Comic Book This Week: 'Tokyo Ghost' #1
Image(s): Image Comics


Best Comic Book This Week: 'Tokyo Ghost' #1
Image(s): Image Comics

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Tags: Rick Remender , Creator Owned , Image Comics , Best Comic This Week