By Thea Srinivasan
Whenever we look for answers, we always hope that it’s always going to be simple. Even if we find the answer, we know it in our minds. But how many times do we truly comprehend the answer? Knowing and understanding are two very different things, and it’s one of the hardest concepts to grasp. But for this particular comic, the line tends to blur between knowing, understanding and predicting something from what we know. Before I continue with this review, the following book is an anthology of written and illustrated stories. It is necessarily a comic but a collection of tales from different mediums. If you do not find the idea of written stories or anthologies appealing, I’d suggest you stop reading this review.
Metropo is a collection of written and illustrated pieces by several different authors. Each story is connected with a central theme of science fiction combined with “slice-of-life.” Rather than taking the traditional light-hearted approach to slice-of-life, this collection focuses on different realities of society through imagined versions of the future in a fictional city called Metropo.
I won’t be judging nor describing every single story. Instead, I will be giving a very general overview of the stories and their individual elements. Every story’s plot says something different about the fictional society itself. With the combination of technology, robots and other science fiction elements, all eight stories do a great job of connecting the underlying themes of materialism, advancement, and change while combating human experiences like love, self-determination, courage, and compassion. Each story forces the reader to think and judge about our current present and potential futures through the minds of all the authors. From there, readers will be left with underlying emotions regarding every scenario each author chose to take on.
I think every author has done a brilliant job with the storytelling as they were able to balance their creativity for a hypothetical future without veering too far into obscure futures that make no scientific sense. Although there were some ideas that didn’t fit my sense of logic, they didn’t go too far out to make criticize every single thing about it. For example, one of the stories used hovercrafts without being able to give a small explanation about it in the background. Every character was written with enough background and personality that they felt relatable. With the combination of sci-fi elements, the authors were able to present scenarios in which readers are put at an ethical crossroad about the decisions characters make and about what is truly right and wrong in their own minds. For example, a person has decided to commit suicide. How does the scenario change when communicating with a robot right before death? With these added elements, readers are forced to take a step back and think.
Not every story has been designed as a comic. For the stories that were comics, the influences for each work were from all over the place. One story had some of the most detailed and refined panels I’ve ever seen while another story had a style that reminded me of the T.V show Adventure Time. Each artist was able to clearly define their taste and preferences as to their ideas of what the future would look like. At the same time, I can easily say that every artist has a style that would appeal to a particular reader.
This anthology was one of my favorite comics I’ve read so far. I can’t say I enjoyed this particular piece because of the overall nature of the stories. But I can classify this as a masterpiece with wonderful thought-provoking tales and characters that have stuck on to me like glue. This anthology is for a person who wants to take a diplomatic stance with every view they could possibly find and combine every perspective into something greater than themselves.