The first issue of Tokyo Ghost, created by Rick Remender and Sean Murphy, was released by Image Comics last Wednesday. I have been looking forward to this book for months and have probably mentioned it several times on the podcast: I like what I've read from Remender and I'm not shy about proclaiming my love for all things drawn by Sean Murphy, even when the opinion is unsolicited (which is always). Images of the art from Tokyo Ghost started showing up well in advance of its publication and continued to show up in my Twitter feed for months, offering a constant reminder that this book was on the way and it was going to look amazing.
Anyway, the point is I excitedly claimed my copy at the comic book store last week and finally got to read it this morning. The book starts out in the Isles of Los Angeles in 2089, in a world that has decayed beyond recognition because of society's addiction to technology as a distraction from reality. Two main characters are introduced in issue one, Led Dent and Debbie Decay, as constables hunting down a dangerous criminal. She is the last tech-free person in LA and he is so plugged into the net at all times that he doesn't even know what his physical body is doing. They are co-dependent in so many ways, but also seem to make a pretty effective team. The first issue does a good job of building this world, laying the groundwork for the story to come, and drawing us into what has become the shell of a relationship between these two people.
If it sounds depressing, that's because it kind of is. And it's easy to see where the author is coming from. There's a "welcome letter" in the back of the issue from Remender where he talks about how the advent of the smartphone has changed social norms and impulse control so drastically in just six years, and he imagines that Tokyo Ghost is the world where that influence is multiplied exponentially over decades. He's expressing his concern through his art, whereas when one of our kids has been on a device for too long I get upset and break out a lecture that probably makes them feel like they did something wrong. Maybe I need another outlet... like a blog or something. Or a parenting class? Seriously though, when it comes to your children it sometimes is hard to trust the world outside your door more than the technology inside it. Of course, leaning on that crutch doesn't leave much hope for your family (or humanity for that matter) and you deal with everything as it comes.
It seems like there's hope in Tokyo Ghost, as well. We've already seen the trash barrel that is the Isles of Los Angeles, and Murphy's style is well-suited for the tech-y urban decay that exists there. But I'm looking forward to issue #2 when the team heads to the Garden of Tokyo, the last tech-free nation on Earth. There's a short preview of it in the back of this issue: the trees and water of Tokyo are really beautiful, and I really can't wait for some of the samurai and sword stuff that I've seen bits and pieces of over the past few months. The first issue did not disappoint - take my money, I want more Tokyo Ghost.