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The Matrix Comics: Volume 2
Words by Kaare Andrews, Peter Bagge, Poppy Z Brite, Paul Chadwick, Vince Evans, Jim Krueger, Spencer Lamm, Ted McKeever, Troy Nixey, Gregory Ruth, Bill Sienkiewicz, Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski - Art by Kaare Andrews, Peter Bagge, Paul Chadwick, Dave Dorman, Vince Evans, Keron Grant, Ted McKeever, Troy Nixey, Michael Oeming, Gregory Ruth, Tim Sale, Bill Sienkiewicz - Published by Burlyman Entertainment (US), Titan Books (UK) - First published 2004
Although the movie trilogy is now consigned to DVD and the history books, The Matrix marketing machine keeps rolling on. This second volume of comics collects more of the stories originally presented on The Matrix's website (albeit updated with colour in some cases), alongside three previously unseen works.
Because the majority of stories were originally released during the promotion of the first movie, they tackle the key concepts found therein - that the world is a computer generated illusion, created by machines, to keep the humans they feed off in a dreamlike trance. As often seems the case with anthologies of short stories based on movies, new characters are introduced, used briefly for the purposes of finding out about the Matrix, before getting chewed up and spat out by their robot masters. Some stories are better than others but the vast majority are along the same lines, with few sparks of originality.
The art is great throughout, but predictably revolves around leather, PVC and shades; or vast machines growing humans in glowing red tanks. We wouldn't know whether it's the Wachowski brothers keeping a tight reign over their creations or not, but even the notoriously protective George Lucas seems to allow his creators some leeway to actually create something new, rather than simply putting a new cast of characters into the same situations
Of course, having said all this, big fans of the movies (and especially the fans of the first one), who can't get enough of this stuff, will probably love it. It contains flashes of brilliance but the remaining average brings the overall level down, making this a book for fans alone.
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