Utopiates by Josh Finney (story, art), and Kat Rocha (art)
Publisher: 01 Publishing
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Edition: Paperback, 84 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 3.5/5 Rating
In the near future…
…science is able to distill human personalities into a drug-form. Called utopiates –a merging of the words utopia and opiate– these drugs allow users to swap personalities with the “mental imprints” of other people. Every user has their own reasons for seeking chemical escape, but all soon learn the cost of soul swapping is extremely high.
Follow the interconnected lives of four individuals addicted to injecting “souls” in the sci-fi series, UTOPIATES Vol.1, now available from 01 Publishing. At its core, this book is an unflinching portrayal of human behavior at its most extreme.
*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion and review
01 Publishing’s graphic novels are steadily on the rise for me! World War Kaiju (my review) was a weak start, things improve greatly with Crazy Mary (my review), and now, with Utopiates, it seems like things have finally come together!
There is a new drug out called “Utopiates”. Injecting it into yourself can make you more happy, sociable, clam, or even more angry, aggressive, sad. What ver type of personality you want, there is probably a utoptiate for it.
These new drugs are used by the military and doctors, and sold on the streets and black-market. There is one women though, who appears to be using addicts addictions, to her advantage.
The drug, utopiate, is so freaking cool! It is a cartridge injector, that you stick in your own skin, and give yourself a given amount. What is in the cartridge, that is called utopiate, is actually RNA from another person. You are being injected with someone else’s RNA and this, in turn, gives you their personality for a given amount of time. Then, because of science and gene-splitting and -copying, scientist are actually able to modify the already given genetic code to enhance or add or diminsh certain traits, thus enabling them to create the specific type of personality they want. You see, when you take a utopiate, you become that other personality completely, and no longer feel or think like your normal self would.
The graphic novel is broken up into 4 parts, consists of three separate stories, all of which connect to each other and this mystery women.
The first story is about a teenage kid who lives a trouble life, with parents that do not love him. He has tried to find different ways to escape it, when one day, a mysterious women in black with glasses, comes up to him an offer him “Family”. This utopiate gives him the actual feeling of someone whom is loved by his mom and dad. He cannot find that drug again, or any that gives him the same high, until one day, when the mysterious women comes to find him again, and offers him a supply of “Family” – as long as he is willing to do something for her in return.
The second story, which has two parts, is about ex-marine, Jed Eckert. While enlisted, he was injected with the utopiate “C.A.S.E.”. The only reason he was able to kill his sarge when he was injured, kill terrorits, witness more death and destruction, and commit more kills himself, was because of “C.A.S.E.”.
As you can guess, “C.A.S.E.” and long term use and abuse of utopiates have many effects, mostly dangerously withdrawal symptoms. Eckert is now in therapy from company (which is doing it only to protect themselves from a lawsuit), but he finally has had enough, and needs to seek out the drug. He finally does when he meets a mysterious women who will give him it, in return for the use of his specialized skills. Before he accepts though, he takes it to guy who can read RNA to make sure this is the real deal, and not some copy. The answer Eckert gets, about whose personality he is taking, is not one he likes.
The final story is about Lillian Barrow, a hit-women whose apartment is about to be raided so she can be arrested and charged with the murder of more than a dozen people. When the police do apprehend Lillian, instead of throwing her straight into jail with a death-sentence, they offer a deal to take death of the table… if she can tell them the name of her anonymous employer – that mysterious women in black with glasses.
This mystery women in black, really is a mysterious. We have no idea who she is, who she works or worked for, or even what her motives or goals are. The only thing we know is that she has access to utopiates that no dealer on the street can get, and she talks in biblical and literature quotes.The way that mystery women talked, did start to feel a little gimmicky toward the end, like she was this all-mighty, all-seeing, prophet. Aside from that though, I had no complaints about the story.
I think the idea of utopiates and how they work is a genius idea; I think the way the story is told, with separate character plots that weave together to form the main story, was an effective and good choice; the characters dialog and narration, was full, descriptive, and had a voice of it’s own. Even though our main characters are based off generic roles, aside from mystery women, none of them felt like they were stereotypical at all – they were characters unto this story itself.
I would actually recommend giving this a read. I am genuinely interested in learning more about what this utopiate drug is, reading more stories about addicts who have been used by the mystery women, and who that mystery women is.
Date Read: 03/21/2016 Review Written: 03/21/2016