Review: The Indifference Engine / Written by: Cy Dethan / Art by: Rob Carey / Published by: Markosia Enterprises Ltd / Release Date: Out Now
“My name is Alan Blake. I’ve got no resources, no skills and no friends. But if I were you, I’d be the very last person on Earth I’d want coming after me . . .”
The Indifference Engine is the latest offering from Markosia Enterprises, a publishing company specialising in sequential storytelling for well-known properties like King Kong and Starship Troopers. It is written by Cy Dethan, and art provided by the talented Rob Carey.
To start, The Indifference Engine is a unique spin on alternative universes and multiple versions of the same character. In this case, Alan Blake, a twenty something loser, who’s only skill is his ability to listen well to others. People tend to offload their problems with Alan. They feel better about themselves, while he continues his miserable, dreary existence. However, all that is about to change when Alan responds to a job advertisement. He soon discovers an organisation completely staffed by alternative variants of himself. And if that wasn’t mind-blowing enough, his alternatives are at war with, um, themselves, or at least variants of themselves in some form or other - it can all get a little confusing.
It seems – spoiler alert: close your eyes, put your fingers in your ears and go La La La – that The Indifference Engine is a vast supercomputer built to study Alzheimer’s disease, but when activated by a technician - called unsurprisingly, Alan Blake - it instead shattered reality and sent the machine barking mad. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of new worlds sprang into existence, all with their variant of Alan Blake, in some form or other. Cue the need for much hilarity, lashings of violence, and the odd superpower or two.
Cy Dethan drives the story along well enough with a flair for drama and action as needed. When coupled with the easy style of Rob Carey’s art, The Indifference Engine makes for an enjoyable read.
Dethan doesn’t shy away from gore and violence when he needs to, and the graphic novel is littered with battles and bodily dismemberment. But his real strength is in his characterisation, because in a book that is populated by almost completely the same character it takes a deft hand to make each one original enough to stand out. And in this regard, The Indifference Engine is a complete success.
Cy Dethan writes with a dry wit and places a number of amusing scenes to offset the strangeness of the story. There’s an interesting encounter with a mugger fairly early on that doesn’t quite go the expected way – at least for the mugger anyway.
The Indifference Engine is original, witty, and plain good fun. A must for any comic book fan.