David Opie reviews Man: Plus #2…
As Olissipo’s crack police squad piece together the cause of the recent android attack, a dangerous thread of violence and corruption begins to unravel, leading from the city’s seediest ghettos, to the dizzying heights of its business district.
From artist/writer André Lima Araújo (Avengers AI, Spider Verse) comes the riveting second chapter of this high-octane dystopian thriller that whisks the reader into the thick of a robotic skirmish and the unsettling conspiracy that lies at its heart…
Although André Lima Araújo’s most prominent work to date has been on mainstream superhero comics, the debut issue of his creator owned series Man: Plus immediately hooked readers with a convincing dystopian setting and an intriguing cliffhanger that guaranteed issue #2 would be another must-read book.
As is often the case, the anticipation built by the ending of issue #1 doesn’t quite live up to expectations. After a quick skirmish, the android escapes, raising yet more questions with her disappearance, although it would have been foolhardy of Araújo to solve the central enigmas of the series so early on. Fortunately, the narrative quickly picks up steam once again with the introduction of new characters who work both for and against the central police squad.
Hacker Mr Lee may be a minor character, but his no-nonsense approach is a welcome addition to the team, one we hope to see expanded more in upcoming issues. One character we will definitely be seeing more of in the future though is Mr Karagounis, an extremely powerful CEO who works at the heart of the conspiracy surrounding the android attack.
Both Lee and Karagounis play into the typical archetypes one would expect from the cyberpunk genre, but the most intriguing development in Araújo’s sophomore issue lies with the scientist reluctantly working with the hit squad, whose allegiance isn’t as clear-cut as it first appeared.
Everything that worked so well in issue #1 of Man: Plus continues to impress here; the dialogue still flows naturally, particularly in any exchange featuring the tough-as-nails commander Chief Elsa, the artwork is as flawless as ever and the city design is begging to be adapted into an anime feature. Further layers are also added to the central mystery surrounding the enigmatic android, compounded further by another cliffhanger ending that ensures readers will want to stick with the series right until the end.
Everything in the world of Man: Plus feels somewhat familiar, aside perhaps from the varied cultural influences of the artwork, but when the end result is this much fun to read and this beautiful to look at, it’s impossible to do anything but wholeheartedly recommend Araújo’s work to anyone within listening range.
The success of Marvel and DC on film is extremely gratifying for comic book fans everywhere, but focus now needs to be drawn to the likes of indie comics such as Man: Plus, whose cyberpunk thrills deserve a far wider audience. If you haven’t already, seek out issue #1 first and then dive into the strikingly realised world of Man: Plus before everyone else eventually catches on. It’s just a matter of time.
David Opie – follow him on Twitter, add him on Facebook or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org