If the first volume of Ian looked like a gentle introduction to the concept of an android working in an elite quasi-military rescue organisation, by the end of this second volume you’ll have a better idea where the overarching plot is headed. Although we were quite digging the ‘Thunderbirds with a robot companion’ vibe, I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by revealing that there are themes at the heart of this book that might end up being a bit more Terminator than Gerry Anderson.
The crucial difference in this book is that we’re given an insight into IAN’s mind. We were warned in the first book that he was prone to mysterious “episodes” but here we see exactly what’s going on through his own mind, casting doubt on his ability to operate safely around humans despite his preprogrammed desire to protect and serve.
There’s no dramatic rescue here. Instead we see a period of civil unrest, started in a grey area of human rights but quickly descending into opportune looting and deadly violence. IAN gets caught in the middle, struggling to follow orders that go against his programming.
Ralph Meyer’s futuristic backgrounds and square-jawed heroes remind us a little of Dave Gibbons, and while IAN is appropriately a little more bande-dessinée than 2000AD, it has a familiar European sci-fi feel. While the story is still taking shape, it looks like it’s getting more complex and sophisticated, and I’m looking forward to the next installment.