MYOPIA #1 by Richard Dent and Patrick Berkenkotter
MYOPIA #1 is a radically inventive sci-fi dystopian tale that is teeming with detail. This dense first issue drops the reader right into what will likely be one of the most engrossing new sci-fi universes.
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A Big Vision

Great science fiction writing is often hindered by a central problem. How can an author both build a detailed world and tell a coherent story? In the mere 32-pages of Dynamite’s MYOPIA #1, writer Rich Dent packs in loads of backstory. This issue is dense. However, through narrative tricks, Dent also creates an engaging character-driven story. Overall, Dent’s attention to detail brings MYOPIA #1’s steampunk, BLACK MIRROR-style cautionary tale to vivid life.

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Based off of an award-winning story by Richard Dent, MYOPIA #1 absolutely lives up to the hype. Big names like George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Dean Koontz, and Jim Butcher supported the comic’s Kickstarter. Like these talented authors, Dent has a knack for engrossing sci-fi.

Image Courtesy of Dynamite.

Similarly to GAME OF THRONES or THE HANDMAID’S TALE, we only get one piece of the narrative puzzle at a time. Dent drops us into MYOPIA’s futuristic setting with no introduction. Currently, the central premise of the book remains elusive. However, the details of this universe abound.

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Making Contact

MYOPIA’s story centers around a futuristic AI contact lens. Originally, the Formula Media Lens started as a friendly consumer-product breakthrough. However, the government eventually uses it for nefarious purposes. With today’s use of Fitbit, Siri, and Cortana, this concept is especially relevant. Beyond a 1950s vibe (present in clothing and building styles), this world could easily be our own. Except, of course, for the ever-present AI that dominates all aspects of life. Certainly, it’s a neat setting. However, I have yet to see many of the steampunk elements that Dent assured us would be in this book.

Within this world, we find our two central yet morally ambiguous characters. James Chase is an accomplished scientist with mysterious motives. He has a pet hawk that he carries everywhere. (It’s less silly within the context of the book). Matthew Glen is the genius young son of a murdered scientist. His motives are even vaguer.

We only see glimpses of these two within the context of events in progress. And so we still don’t know much. However, Dent provides enough intrigue to make the characters’ actions interesting.

Overall, the actual story in MYOPIA #1 is unclear. We merely see vignettes featuring our two main characters. There is little context or explanation. Still, this vague narrative heightens the central mystery.

Image Courtesy of Dynamite.

MYOPIA #1 Watches the Watchmen

Stylistically and narratively, MYOPIA #1 reminds me heavily of WATCHMEN, which is one of the highest compliments I can give. In both, a mysterious murder sets the events in motion. Second, they both deconstruct a well-treaded genre. (MYOPIA does to steampunk what WATCHMEN does to superheroes). Third, and most strikingly, MYOPIA #1 tells its story through mixed-media. This issue features resumes, letters, and business reports that all build up its futuristic setting.

A series of background documents provide much of MYOPIA #1’s backstory. As in WATCHMEN, these literary add-ins serve to clear up exposition. There are no long monologues contained in this issue explaining the rules and backstory. Instead, the expositional elements occur outside the narrative.

This choice allows Dent to focus on more natural dialogue. This gives us a greater understanding of how people in this universe actually interact. With a writing style that’s both efficient and artistic, MYOPIA #1’s world has a lived-in and organic feel.

Image Courtesy of Dynamite.

Building Out the Universe

Artist Patrick Berkenkotter definitely provides a solid foundation for this book. Altogether, he rides the line between making this sci-fi dystopia feel familiar and strange. Small touches like floating cars with 1950s designs are abundant throughout the issue.

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Final Thoughts on MYOPIA #1

Altogether, MYOPIA #1 is a dense sci-fi epic. Despite a lack of narrative clarity, this issue has enough twists and turns to keep up the intrigue. Overall, I am excited to see more of this new sci-fi universe when MYOPIA #2 releases in December.

Dynamite’s re-release of MYOPIA #1 can be ordered here, and you can pre-order MYOPIA #2 from your local comic book shop here!

One Comment

  1. Tom Arnold

    November 20, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    I read this book and liked it too. Looking forward to the next one.


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