WARNING: Some spoilers for the comic Tokyo Ghost.
The greatly prolific Rick Remender just finished his cyberpunk Sci-Fi adrenaline rush of a comic called Tokyo Ghost. It’s a not-so-subtle jab at our society’s obsession and over-reliance on technology, presenting it in a futuristic world where it’s is the only tangible thing worth living for. It’s like a horror movie version of WALL-E where everyone is a braindead zombie junkie who can’t operate without the influx of digital entertainment. This addiction is every person’s drug of choice and you do whatever it takes to get your fix. It’s an extremely chaotic world rotten by ever-increasing corruption.
Our protagonist, Debbie Decay, is a constable who gets a glimpse of the last remaining natural land: The Garden Nation of Tokyo. It’s an unfamiliar world for her, one devoid of the tech disease and instead filled with harmony and communal activity. But unfortunately, this area exists with an impending sense of doom hovering over it. The digital infestation seeps into every corner of the Earth with the potential to suffocate this organic settlement too. Remender doesn’t hold back depicting life where brutality and devastation occur in unpredictable ways. Characters and situations arise that take the story into extremely dark territory. Debbie is a character who undergoes suffering and loss. She is a fractured product of the horrible world she grew up in. But the disparity between the artificial world she knows and the natural one coalesce into her uncompromising strength.
As events over the course of this ten issue series culminate into a perilous conundrum, Debbie is presented an impossible task. She is given a chance to be reunited with someone she loves at the cost of the world turning into a complete virtual reality. It would seem life is already at the brink and this is the necessary step. Remender shows us that Debbie is far from a perfect person. She has her own self-interests in mind and will bring them to fruition any way she can. But after being exposed to the idealistic portrait of life without technology, that sparse hope becomes instilled in her. She is the only one who can prevent this natural annihilation from undergoing. She understands that living artificially with her lover is not the same thing as truly living.
She rises to the challenge to defend the human race. She becomes the hero that this world had no room for. Her selfless ability to fight against this evil system and restore peace and nourishment to the world makes her a leader. As someone who used to only ever stand for herself, she now stands for the future of the world. A future removed from the digital addiction. Remender gives us a comic where morality is not clearly defined and every character is shades of gray. It’s a humanised way of looking at a society suffering from its lack of structure. But this turmoil births the valour that Debbie uses to defeat the corruption. She does not represent the ideal, favoured hero. She is damaged and broken, but it is in this that she is able to recognise the nobility that can resurrect the world. Her strength to change the fate of the Earth is the inspiration that saves the human race.
What do you think of Tokyo Ghost? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter!