What started in the first IAN book as a seemingly innocent story about how humans might react to an intelligent android co-worker, has now truly evolved into a high-octane thriller. This third chapter pushes IAN, a robot who can experience human pain and emotion, into a new level of isolation. Taking his programming to help people and eliminate threat to its extreme logical conclusion, here we see him working independently to dramatically alter the way the world works.
The big theme across all of this is control. Is IAN’s programming being manipulated by outside sources? The government seem to think so, which leads to him being targeted for elimination. What’s more interesting is that in order to destroy this apparently indestructible android, the government drafts in a covert secret superhuman weapon of its own…
As ever, Ralph Meyer’s art is bold and kinetic, handling this episode’s action scenes with aplomb. It doesn’t shirk on detail, though, with plenty of background to linger over. The plot, on the other hand, feels a little looser, like we’re going through a number of motions to get to the inevitable conclusion. Perhaps this is part of the point, that this process should feel like a computer methodically solving a problem. Having gone AWOL, there’s nothing IAN can do but turn to his programming.
Still, more and more questions are being thrown up and there’s no conclusion in site just yet. This certainly hasn’t panned out to be the story I envisioned when I wrote my review of the first volume, but if you like near-future sci-fi, conspiracy theories and pondering whether human morals can be turned into algorithms, this series won’t disappoint.