There’s been a glut of Dystopian and post-apocalyptic stories lately, whether it be on TV screens or in the pages of books and comics, which is something Symmetry seeks to address by having its setting as a perfect society that makes all men and women equal. In this Utopia, hunger and sickness are things of the past, with all negative emotions bred out and suppressed by genetics and medicine, creativity and ambition effectively wiped out. Each person is linked to a benevolent machine, their behaviour monitored for the good of the human race.
Writer Matt Hawkins kicks off the story with a man on the run, pursued by the machines that help police this seemingly perfect society. All is not well, it would seem, and what can be seen on the surface is far from the truth. It's a solid start, one that hooks by being suitably intriguing and packed with action, but having the story go back to the birth of the hero lessens the impact. It’s a formula that many dramas are using these days – showing how events have taken the characters to this opening scene – but it can prove tiresome and sometimes gives away the fates of others.
That said, the journey from child to man serves to give the reader an insight into the society and those who inhabit it. Yes, it all looks perfect, but there's something sinister and unsettling about it. The last few pages are a shock to the characters, as events take a turn for the worst and turn their wonderful world upside down. The art, by Raffaele Ienco, is stunning, providing depth to every page while maintaining the crisp and clinical look that suits the story perfectly.
As a first issue, it's intriguing rather than exciting, an opening that lures the reader in slowly with a mounting sense of unease. The atmosphere of a safe yet sterile society is created extremely well by writer and artist; an afterword from the former reads like a sociology lesson, however, something which hopefully won't prove too invasive in the future and keep the story entertaining while it delivers its message.
SYMMETRY #1 / WRITER: MATT HAWKINS / ARTIST: RAFFAELE LENCO / PUBLISHER: TOP COW / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW