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SP4RX Paperback – December 13, 2016
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
ONE OF Kirkus Reviews' BEST TEEN BOOKS OF 2016
ONE OF DEN OF GEEKS BEST COMICS OF 2016
Teeming with rogue robots, political and corporate corruption, and raw, unflinchingly violent action, this is a must-read for fans seeking a smart sci-fi graphic offering that's a bit off the beaten path.
A pulls-no-punches techno-thriller; think Mr. Robot meets The Stepford Wives.
—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
Fans of sci-fi or dystopian comics will enjoy this fast-paced volume […]
While on first glance merely another cyberpunk pastiche, the book announces its arrival with a surprising degree of wit and style. Sometimes all that’s necessary to make the old songs shine is to sing them in a new way. Sp4rx somehow manages to be both a fairly standard—downright predictable—cyberpunk thriller, and a showcase for McDonald’s stylistically engaging and endlessly inventive cartooning.
Wren McDonald has not only found a way to produce a truly original contribution to the dystopian genre, but also to create a story that syncretizes numerous predecessors and influences while simultaneously critiquing them.
SP4RX reads as the love-child between William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner
Dynamic, stylish and laced with comedy.
—It's Nice That
This book is a serious joy to read [...] McDonald not only has a clear artistic vision of the worlds he wishes to create, but a strong handle on what topics he wants to explore. Thankfully, we get to come along and take part in an art-thought experiment like SP4RX.
"SP4RX" shows that the cyberpunk genre is just as relevant now as it was 30 years ago. It rehashes a lot of the conventions of the stories that came before it, but through Wren McDonald’s design, eye, and voice, it still manages to find a way to say something
SP4RX is a tight little cyberpunk thriller that maximizes story economy and minimizes everything else while still retaining its satirical edge. […] The grimy quality of this future city reminds me a bit of Moebius […]
This is a book that has action, humour, politics and gritty science fiction a plenty. It is packed full of some excellent art and has a real edge to its storytelling. Wren McDonald is definitely someone I will be looking out for in the future.
—Down The Tubes
SP4RX is a really unique and original take on the traditional subject of a dystopian future.
McDonald’s artwork is the big draw for me here; it has a dynamic quality with huge amounts of detail packed into it, where you want to examine every panel further just to see what you missed.
McDonald’s art is awesome. My first instinct set a very high bar - it’s like if Adventure Time, Neuromancer, and Akira got thrown in a blender. It’s meticulously detailed and incredibly easy to get lost in, and I definitely did.
—Den Of Geek, The Best Comics of 2016
SP4RX is an outstanding cyberpunk sci-fi graphic novel packed to the gills with action, explosions, social commentary, rogue robots, violence, and smart writing. […] a graphic novel that shares DNA with the work of authors such as William Gibson and Philip K. Dick and classics like Akira and the film Blade Runner while simultaneously feeling fresh and unique. […] This is a must-read for fans of dystopian science fiction and all-around great graphic novels alike.
This larger format has given Wren plenty of space to explore and experiment with his style - both in terms of aesthetic and storytelling - and has ultimately resulted in an even more epic page-turner!
Like any good science fiction story, the setting and plot are really a commentary on our current culture. The story reflects our concerns today.
—Kleefeld on Comics
SP4RX has all the bells and whistles in all the right places. This 116-page graphic novel is a full-bodied cyberpunk adventure that would make William Gibson and Philip K. Dick proud. […] McDonald’s light-hearted cartoony style belies the story’s serious cyberpunk undertones in an uncanny and engrossing way. The way McDonald plays with scale and pacing is masterful. […] Wren McDonald has created a perfect mashup here of humor and sci-fi.
SP4RX, is a wonderful book full of amazing artwork as well as clever commentary on class-stratification and what the future could hold for our society if we don't start getting our act together.
—The Newest Rant
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SP4RX, the protagonist, is a hacker in the city of Avalon who sells his commodity to the highest bidder. He’s recruited by W.R.A.I.T.H. (Weaponized Resistance against Inequitable Use of Technology on Humankind) an underground resistance movement led by Enoch Hirz. Hirz was the former head of STRUCTUS Industries and supposedly killed himself 5 years prior.
There is a lot of action in this novel with SP4RX being pursued by most every faction who are out to kill him. There are fun little panels depicting TV PSAs in which the lower level worker are being encouraged to step up and use ELPIS. There are spots which depict citizens wearing “Pray 4 CopBots” tee shirts. These news and media spots are uncannily depicted using the mind set of today’s Jingoistic culture creep. With rogue cops, political corruption, corporate over lording and class drift there is certainly a mirror being held up to our own current events. But none of these points detracts from the bottom line of this being a good solid story.
The story line is good, the art work is top notch and for anyone who enjoys graphic novels this is a winner. Furthermore, for the folks who haven’t given this genre a try, this is a good starting point.
Then came the penis. And the cursing. And the violence. Did I mention the penis?
So, moving on to more mature readers only territory, I continued to read without her. The story is pretty basic Dystopia. I did like it overall, but didn't find anything groundbreaking about it. It was action packed and moved well, but was missing a bit of humor as well.
I did enjoy the color scheme and found most of the illustrations bold. However there were many that didn't really add to the story for me. The key to the graphic novel is that the illustrations and text mesh together and tell a story as a whole. In this case, they didn't quite mesh.
Overall an interesting try that missed the mark just a bit for me. And not for the kid until she's older.
Now I started the book a second time only with my children taking turns reading it under my guidance and supervision. Yes, there are some tastefully presented adult themes and even some language instances. But this is where to go for the big lessons. Structus Industries looks like a benevolent company on the outside, and certainly no politician or mainstream news journalist is going to tell the truth about it. Just thinking about what they are doing gets me mad.
I think the loneliness of perceiving what others don't or won't would overwhelm me. But SP4RX, the protagonist, is able to channel his anger productively even though he takes too many personal risks. His life is much harder than mine. That's the price he pays.
I recommend this book!