Tokyo Ghost by Rick Remender

Tokyo Ghost (by writer Rick Remender, artist Sean Gordon Murphy, colourist Matt Hollingsworth and letterer Russ Wooton) is an ultraviolent, gritty and tech-proliferated action comic. And I’m totally there for it!

Taking place in 2089 in a world where everything has pretty much gone to shit, corporations have taken over and squeezed the life out of the planet, police have been replaced by security companies and everyone is living a more fucked up, plugged-in life than those plebs on the spaceship in Wall-E.

Debbie Decay and Led Dent are brutal (Led is legendarily violent!) and effective peacekeepers who take on a mission that leads them to Tokyo, the last bastion of nature and harmony. They are such a mismatched couple but as you dig deeper into their lives and pasts it all makes sense. That they are so messed up just keeps things interesting as they come up against various villains as they try to take them down in whichever way they can. Supreme ruler Flak (or whatever his real title is) is an entitled, populist, media whore who has been voted into the highest position (sound familiar?), who only has his own best interests at heart but wraps them up in things that the media-hungry populace will devour thoughtlessly. In short, he’s a dick.

Volume 1 is good and sets up the world and this particular story very well. Volume 2, however, blew that outta the water, stabbed it with a really sharp sword and set off an EMP to destroy all the nano particles that were coursing through its system.

I looooved the second volume.

Volume 2 steps up the pace (or was that just my reading?) and brings a denouement to the plotting of the first volume wonderfully. The switches and surprises kept things interesting but it retained its absolute compulsion to keep things brutal. In Davey Trauma (a technology-controlling, self-styled cyberspace god and all round nutcase) we have an absolutely superb antagonist all throughout this short series. How I wish there was more to this, more adventures and more Trauma, but I guess I can be happy with the excellent work that we do have!

The artwork is fantastic, bringing plenty of details and the vibrant, harsh, neon-fuelled cyberpunk aesthetic and counterbalancing it against the greenery of nature perfectly. They also don’t flinch away from anything and no topic seems to be out of reach for the writers and artists. There’s so much going on in the background of each panel!

It may not be a long series (only 10 issues) but I thoroughly enjoyed it all. The ongoing storyline veers from violence to peace, action to corporate shenanigans and pulls at the threads of resistance, being true to yourself and fighting for what is right.

On reflection it feels like a call back to the 2000AD comics of the past that I used to read, mixed in with the fucked up attitude of manga and a heavy dose of cyberpunk sensibilities and who doesn’t want a bit of that?

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