The first few pages of Killtopia promise a high-profile, televised Hunger Games-style death-match, though it doesn’t appear in this first book of the series. Instead the focus zooms in on a young man, scraping a living hunting stray robots to sell as parts to criminal gangs. This isn’t because he’s a career criminal but because he has to earn money to buy a very expensive drug to keep his sister alive. She’s been infected by The Rot, an infestation of nano-tech devices that are eating her from the inside: a high-tech pollutant that’s worked its way into the food chain.
In Killtopia, robots are a problem. They roam the streets, out of control because the ability to program them has been lost. So when our hero finds a sentient translator robot who might be able to bridge the gap between human and robot, he wonders whether it might be able to help with his sister’s deadly infection. Clearly, however, he’s not the only one with an interest, and various factions are soon declaring their intent to capture the translator.
It makes for a powerful, intelligent, sophisticated, sci-fi thriller. Coupled with Craig Paton’s art, which has a little of Geoff Darrow about the style and the detail, it’s a match made in heaven. It’s worth spending time on the art – the detail is glorious and references Paton’s influences throughout, which will bring a smile to the lips of any comics connoisseur.
It’s a compelling opening that looks set to combine into a sweet-spot of story and art, action and intelligence, coherent world-building and fine detail. Definitely one to watch.