Title: Surgeon X (Part 1)
Story: Sara Kenney (UK)
Art: John Watkiss (UK)
Colourist: James Delvin (UK)
Publisher: Image Comics (USA)
Editor: Karen Berger (USA)
Pages: 44 colour pages
Release Date (Print & Digital): 26 September 2016
Age rating: 17+ only
Come December and you would see the 25th anniversary of the copyright initiation that formed the way for Image Comics’ launch. Against the idea of Marvel owning up all the creative rights for the characters they’ve created, seven bright talents of the industry moved away from Marvel comics and formed the Image Comics, a creator owned publisher. Image, currently America’s third largest comic publisher, dishes out some of the critically acclaimed series and Surgeon X is a definitive addition in their crowning jewel.
The real force behind world’s longest running medical drama, BBC’s Casualty, Sara Kenney had a great prospective job in the field of science, which she left to pursue a career in media. She is credited with the award winning documentaries and short films. For this debut comic, Kenney has done extensive ground work collaborating with reputed doctors and scientists for over four years. For some characters (like that of the Schizophrenic), she never looked beyond her own family members, where her elder and younger brothers have undergone treatment for the same. The power of social media can be gauged by the fact that she came in touch with the legendary editor Karen Berger via Linkedin.
Berger, the woman behind the imprint Vertigo, left the job about three years ago. Some of the world’s finest graphic novels are edited by her and her involvement with this project has definitely elevated Surgeon X to a different plane.
Here’s the synopsis of the comic:
The British Government starts rationing the usage of Anti-Biotic in 2036. Fearing an antibiotic apocalypse, a brilliant doctor dons the mantle of Surgeon X. She treats patients using experimental surgery with black market drugs in a mobile surgical unit.
One Line: A female vigilante doctor’s battle against the Government rules in the wake up of an antibiotic apocalypse.
Story: Surgeon X explores a bleak future where a far-right British government, an antibiotic apocalypse, and a gruesome murder result in the birth of ‘Surgeon X‘ and her renegade practice. Extreme times call for extreme medicine. Set in a future world where antibiotics are in limited supply and resistant bugs are running rampant with the threat that a simple infection can kill, Rosa Scott, a brilliant and obsessive surgeon becomes Surgeon X.
Analysis: Forget about anything. This is DEFINITELY the series of the year for Image comics, if not for the rest of them as well. The story and the theme holds so much potential and let’s just say that the creators have done justice to that, at least in the first part. The set up, the theme, the narration, the pattern, the detailed scientific output shown through the pages, everything points to the fact that this is indeed a fantastic debut for the series.
Often we’ve seen a brilliant idea going awry in the execution. This is where the expertise of Berger come in handy. The founder of Vertigo has to be credited with the execution style of Surgeon X, where the present and flashback scenes are handled aptly, both in terms of narration and visual aesthetics.
There is enough scope for Kenney to work out in this series and yet, she sticks to the linear idea of the antibiotic apocalypse. The idea is to focus on the single point, and not only does she deliver it in the first part, but she creates enough expectation on how the entire series is going to unfold.
Verdict: Don’t miss it. (5/6).
(These are purely personal views of Comics Historian & Writer, King Viswa and AnimationXpress.com does not necessarily subscribe to these views)