Publisher: Anomaly Publishing
Writer: Skip Brittenham & Brian Haberlin
Artist: Brian Haberlin & Geirrod Van Dyke
Retail Price: $75.00
Genre: Science Fiction
Type: Hardcover Graphic Novel
From Anomaly Publishing:
EARTH 2717: THE 3RD GOLDEN AGE
BUILDING A BETTER TOMORROW TODAY
The planet we call home slowly dies beneath us.
Most humans now live in teeming surface “Terrarium Cities”, off world colonies or orbiting space stations. All of earth’s resources have been depleted.
All corporations, nations and technologies have merged into THE CONGLOMERATE whose Enforcer Battalions now conquer whole planets to feed Earthlings insatiable appetites.
THE CONGLOMERATE which began with the spirit of the best mankind had to offer, saved humanity from itself by taking us to the stars has become the most ruthless profit machine to ever exist.
Never use a robot when a human will do…
Dishonorably discharged from the Conglomerate’s elite Enforcer Corps, Jon is doing a job too lowly for a robot. He leaps at the chance to go on a peaceful, first contact mission to an untainted world. Playing armed babysitter to Samantha, the daughter of a powerful Conglomerate executive shouldn’t be too hard. What could go wrong?
For Jon, it’s a relief to get away – on an easy assignment protecting a couple of do-gooders visiting a peaceful new planet. For Samantha, it’s a mission to change the world. For Jasson, it’s a chance to put his theories to the test.
Being marooned on Anomaly where technology doesn’t work, the terrain is lethal and the creatures even more so, Jon quickly learns he’s not the man he once was. Dark secrets surround the various species that call this world home. Jon’s actions here have the potential to ripple across the void of space, and touch everything in it… Maybe even the Conglomerate…
But when Anomaly sprouts synthetics-eating viruses, flesh-eating mutants and deadly magic, it becomes a race against which form of death will come first. Who will survive? Who will return?
Join us on an adventure that reclaims our humanity and saves a world!
This massive graphic novel will take you on adventures to the far flung reaches of the galaxy. The book itself is huge, I’m guessing it is around 8” x 14” and 1 ½ “ thick. The cover is hard and embossed with the Anomaly logo, and comes with a full color glossy dust jacket. You’ll find yourself needing to read the book in chunks, as there is a lot to digest here, but this is made easy by the attached ribbon book mark. Inside the cover is a full color spread of all of the characters in the book, and inside the back cover is the same picture with numbered silhouettes that identifies each character.
I was impressed with the artistic style and layout of the novel. The characters are drawn with a realistic flair with amazing attention to detail. The panels flow well, and I rarely found myself wondering if I was reading them in the correct order. There is even a foldout page included that opens to a magnificent spread of the main character, Jon, sharing his life and history with the high priestess. If you are wondering about the high price pint of the book, when you see it you will wonder no longer. It is well worth the price just from the quality and presentation alone. It’s one of those books you would leave sitting out for guests to look through.
As the introduction above indicated, this is the story of Earth in the year 2717. Our old Earth has suffered a lot over the centuries, and most people live in orbit. Similar in ways to the storyline for Alien, all of humanity is governed by a single mega corporation, called the Conglomerate.
Most of the citizens live in poor conditions, deep in the levels of the various stations in orbit. There are a fortunate few who can rise above these levels by earning more shares in the company. The rich and powerful own the most shares of the Conglomerate, and thus have the most privilege.
Others can rise above their station too, and end up living if not in luxury, at least in comfort. Jon was one of these. He was an Enforcer, a member of a branch of the military trained to make first contact with any species that the Conglomerate encounters as it spreads throughout the galaxy. You see, the Conglomerate has an insatiable need to produce profits. The only way to do this is to expand to other planets and consume their resources, leaving behind a husk when they are done.
Sometimes these planets have sentient life forms on them, and the Enforcers must go out and establish contact with them. If they are hostile they are destroyed, and if they are not they are resettled to another planet that the company doesn’t want anymore. All in all a bad deal for any species encountered by humanity. Luckily, the humans haven’t yet met anyone who could challenge them militarily.
Jon makes a mistake on one mission that results in the extermination of an entire species. Demoted by the Conglomerate and haunted by his failure Jon sinks into depression and obscurity. It is several years before an opportunity arises for Jon to prove himself again. If he goes along on a new type of first contact mission, he’ll regain his status and enable his family to move back into the middle class.
Of course, Jon joins the mission. A group will be traveling to the planet Anomaly, in order to attempt to make first contact with the intelligent life there. This time, the plan is to be a benevolent contact rather than a conqueror. There is a movement within society that is disgusted with the actions of the Conglomerate, and wish to put the human back into humanity, rather than governing their lives by profits alone. A noble cause.
What they are not told is that other expeditions have been sent to the planet, and none had ever returned. In fact, they had never been heard from again.
The rest of the story takes on a distinctive “John Carter, Warlord of Mars” feel. The crew indeed becomes stranded, makes contact with the locals, and soon are involved in a desperate struggle to save the inhabitants of planet Anomaly from the evil Muties, who are bent on destroying or subjugating every other intelligent being on the planet. Technology doesn’t work on Anomaly, so they must rely on their wits and strength, while fighting in battles straight from the bronze age.
There are some twists and turns, the storyline is fairly predictable but an enjoyable read. There is some good character development in the story. A few of the more memorable that really struck me was the nobility of Caderyn, the leader of the People, who strove for the good of his people despite his fall from power. Then there is Tonni, who is forced to prove his usefulness or be killed after losing his bionic parts to the technology destroying slime that infests the planet. The love between the two Gigantus is touching and sweet as well.
The story builds to a climax as Jon faces a final battle against the forces of Erebos, the evil leader of the Muties. Even if he manages to defeat them, the Conglomerate is still out there, and wants him dead (leaving the book open for a sequel).
There are many different species on Anomaly, apart from the People. All kinds of species resembling creatures of legend from our history. Giants, demons, orcs, and goblins are a few of the creatures you’ll see. They are rendered beautifully by the artists.
Once you are done with the story, the appendices flesh out everything referred to in the book. There is an entire history of Earth from the now until the present day in the story. The technology advancements are explained, the rise of the Conglomerate, everything. There is a layout of the social order in the conglomerate, and an explanation of the numerical designations assigned to each person. A full glossary, and full page biographies of the main inhabitants of the planet are also included. I mean, they really thought this thing out. The origins of the Anomaly religion are explained! I can’t imagine how much work was put into fleshing out the story in order to bring it to life.
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read. It is a beautiful book, and deserves to be shown off rather than tucked away on some shelf. I find myself looking forward to more of the story, and hope the publishers push ahead to volume two.
Anomaly is available at Amazon.com, and fine bookstores everywhere.
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