It’s 2042 and Olissipo City is a sprawling megalopolis of high rises and skyscrapers, made up of mismatched biotech corporations. André Lima Araújo’s four-part mini-series, Electric Memory, imagines a future where multinational corporations are the superpowers and governing bodies, like an extension of the dystopia in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
Electric Memory is the writer/artist’s latest creator-owned project, one year in the making. The art style conjures the neo-punk and techno-anarchism of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and Geof Darrow’s scribblings on Hard Boiled. The line work is precise and unflinching in its grubbiness and Arsia Rozegar‘s colours somehow add a sense of the serene. Halfway between the two you’ll find the story, one of harrowing lowliness in an urban nightmare.
The plot isn’t clear cut and Araújo makes little concessions to readers without the patience or smarts to keep up. You have to play close attention to seemingly throwaway details for the subtle world-building. While eyeing the background details, you’ll see the hodgepodge of different cultures fused together, like those in Blade Runner or Firefly, but with its Portuguese setting it’s a remarkably fresh take on the idea.
It’s very ‘90s and in the best possible way, tapping into the millennial paranoia of writers like William Gibson and the bleak society and haunting visuals of Ghost in the Shell. It’s an uncompromising satire, one that uses cybernetic implants and crimes against robots to tell a grim story of prejudice, of police brutality and the greed of corporate fat cats. The first issue may be brief, but it leaves an intellectual and lingering impression, one that whips up cyberpunk excitement. If ever there was a successor to Transmetropolitan, then this is it.
ELECTRIC MEMORY: MAN PLUS #1 / WRITER: ANDRE LIMA ARAUJO / ARTIST: ANDRE LIMA ARAUJO, ARSIA ROZEGAR / PUBLISHER: TITAN / RELEASE DATE: JULY 8TH