Memetic (BOOM! Studios)
Written by James Tynion IV, Art by Eryk Donovan
At various points throughout the last few years I’ve occasionally joked that cat pictures on the internet will be the downfall of modern civilization, but I never actually considered it a possibility, much less worried about the logistics of such an apocalypse. Memetic from BOOM! Studios has put quite a bit of thought into this scenario, with some startling results.
Memetic is the story of what happens when an internet meme is responsible for destroying the world. As bizarre as this premise sounds, it’s actually a very well thought out and coherent story. The protagonist, a college student named Aaron, is one of the few people unaffected by this new internet meme that pops up overnight and causes everyone who looks at it absolute euphoria. Writer James Tynion IV does a good job weaving the story in and around the everyday lives of our main characters. While he is dealing with the beginnings of the meme problem, Aaron is also in the middle of a fight with his boyfriend, which comes across as genuine and indicative of life as a college student who is trying to find himself. Given that the meme is responsible for the end of civilization, things have to turn bad at some point, but I was surprised at the manner in which they turned. It was dark and unexpected and I loved it.
Of course since this is a comic book, readers have the luxury of seeing the meme in question. While I didn’t have the promised euphoric feelings, the “good times sloth” is definitely a good looking meme thanks to art from Eryk Donovan. Memetic is a book full of extreme emotions, from euphoria to absolute madness, and Donovan does a great job with both the individual facial expressions as well as the rapid transition from one to the other. There are a lot of great little touches in this book that I enjoyed. One character, Marcus, is a retired Military officer who is suffering from Macular Degeneration which is shown by making his eyes a milky white color. While in real life his condition wouldn’t necessarily lead to this effect, it does a good job of letting the reader know there is something obviously wrong with Marcus’ vision, also making him immune to the meme. The two page title splash, which shows the same portion of street, one just before the meme hits and one three days after, is one of the best of the book. It provides a haunting foreshadow of things to come, letting readers know that things are going downhill quickly and that they are now along for the ride.
For those of us who grew up along side the internet, this kind of story is both something we can relate to and something profoundly disturbing. 4/5 Death Stars.
Be sure to listen to our interview with artist Eryk Donovan from Tidewater Comicon.