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May 3, 2011

Touring the Cosmos: Insurrection V3.6 #1-#2

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Written by: mike
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Insurrection V3.6 is a four issue mini-series that is an interesting foray into a distant future. Insurrection V3.6 was created and written by Blake Masters, the creator of the television show Brotherhood and developer of Law and Order: Los Angeles. Gone are the days of nations and countries; all that exists are the rich business conglomerates who struggle for power and control.

Insurrection V3.6 #1-2

Issue #1 cover by Karl Richardson

Writers: Blake Masters and Michael Alan Nelson
Artist:
Michael Penick
Cover:
Rael Lyra
Created By:
Blake Masters

Humans have nearly eliminated the need for anything but power. They have played themselves right into the hands of greed, the foremost emotion that humans really display anymore. Having migrated to all over the universe, Insurrection V3.6 is based on the planet Sparta, circa 3000 C.E. (Common Era). Here we have GLOMRAT and RETSU, two corporations vying for control of the resources Sparta has to offer. The intriguing part of the way battles are waged is the fact that humans do not battle. They use AUTs, which are basically androids. The androids are fully self sufficient in making decisions and doing battle. All their owners have to do is merely watch and hope they win, which is pretty much the only source of entertainment that humans seem to have. While there are the usual political tones when the rich are involved, Insurrection V3.6 delves deeper into the human psyche.

Insurrection V3.6 addresses many different points that make for a good sci-fi story. You have the story of Hal, whom many would see as the villain. If one were to look deeper, though, you would see that the inner struggles he has toward his AUTs are what really make him special. He controls a large cadre of AUTs, as well as slave androids that aid him in his day to day affairs. Throughout the story he struggles to find the line between AUT and human. He knows that in order to stay in power he has to show he has control over his AUT units, but is slowly starting to realize that their direct portrayal of humanity makes them nearly real. On the inside they are nothing more than refrigerators, but slowly he is beginning to develop a new bond with them. We also get to see the story from a particular AUT unit named Tim. From the moment of his inception he begins asking questions that no other AUT would even consider, and starts to display emotions that betray his purpose. He feels for his comrades in arms, and even humiliates Hal at the RETSU engagement.

 

Issue #2 cover by Rael Lyra

As it’s only two issues deep, it was a pleasant surprise to see how easy it was to immerse into this new universe. Usually, complex sci-fi stories are difficult to enter because the writer has a hard time explaining what is in his head. With Insurrection V3.6 this is not the case. Blake Masters shows he had a real good story brewing in his noggin, and along with the help of Michael Alan Nelson, it was translated pretty well. The inner battles of Hal are particularly enjoyable. It adds a real human element to the story, all the while having a very sci-fi basis. Tim, the AUT, provides the action scenes and a foil to Hal. Although it is easy to root for Tim, Hal is not necessarily the bad guy. He is just following the trend that humans have created. This is what makes this story pretty unique. It is not simply a good vs. evil story, but something much more complex.

Masters, Nelson, and Penick have come together to be a strong force on this comic. It is easy to tell that Nelson and Masters have efficiently collaborated to tell an interesting sci-fi story. They have created layered characters, a thick plot, and a unique setting for this story. The interactions at the RETSU gathering were well done, really showing how humans view the AUTs and their human/master relationship. Blake Masters really showed that he has a deep understanding for the atmosphere he wanted to create and has a real plan for his characters. Speaking of atmosphere and settings, the art from Michael Penick is easily the strongest point of this comic. Each panel is clear and concise, from the look on people’s faces to the motionless AUTs. The way Penick was able to create a really crisp yet bland room for Hal and the RETSU gathering really shows how rich yet boring humans have become. Penick also really shows an affinity for fluid motions from panel to panel. Karl Richardson and Rael Lyra also provide some pretty nice covers that set a good tone for what is inside.

This is definitely a suggested read for any fan of a good sci-fi story. It may seem at first that this has borrowed elements from stories like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or even a scene from Starship Troopers, but in the end it has come together to be its own unique tale. Despite a slow start, the direction that issue 1 and 2 are heading is great. Here is to hoping that Masters, Nelson, and Penick will stay on course to finish what should be a great sci-fi story.

Mike Parente
mike@comicattack.net

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