Created by Fraser Campbell, Lucy Sullivan, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
This is an independent science fiction tale, strange and haunting, from the creative team of Fraser Campbell, Lucy Sullivan, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. We have previously reviewed one of Mr Campbell’s horror comics – the chilling House of Sweets https://worldcomicbookreview.com/2020/06/03/house-of-sweets-review/. Here is the promotional copy of this new title:
Marked by those who control her society as a non-person, a young woman follows a clue to The City to find out why she has been IND-XED... Meredith is an ordinary young woman just trying to get by until she wakes up one morning to find she has been IND-XED, marked by those who control her society as a stateless, nameless and worthless non-person. Desperate to find out why, she follows a clue to The City, where rumours hint that others like her dwell within the shadows... IND-XED is a lo-fi sci-fi story, inspired by the likes of The Grapes of Wrath, Children of Men, Fahrenheit 451, Alphaville, The Road, 12 Monkeys, 1984, Sweet Tooth and Y: The Last Man, from writer Fraser Campbell (Alex Automatic, The Edge Off, Heart of Steal, House of Sweets) and artist Lucy Sullivan, author & artist of the acclaimed graphic novel Barking.
The sepia tones to the art convey a sense of blandness to the lives of the people living in The City. There’s also a suggestion of age. This story is a science fiction piece, but the colours suggest that it is one that occurred a long time ago. Science fiction has a 140 year history, with some of the bleaker material occurring in the post- fin de siecle era of Orwell and Huxley of the 1930s and 1940s. Meredith’s world is positively Orwellian. The parallels to 1984, where things happen for no apparent reason other than as an exercise of control by the totalitarian state over its citizens, is apparent here. Meredith does not know why she has been Ind-xed. It just happens. There is no right of appeal, or right to know why. And the system is policed by the menacing Auditors.
Meredith is a catspaw, but not a hopeless pawn. The endgame, when she confronts the creature responsible for creating the Ind-x, is both lateral and beautiful. And her experience of being shunned is told from the perspective of the subject rather than the observer, which is unique. Being the focus of distant caution must be akin to being a Dalit in India, or a Palestinian in Tel Aviv, but with no obvious contempt – the open contempt is not permitted by the enforced code of the Ind-x. Meredith finds this interest mildly intoxicating in that it gives her a strange sense of power. In that regard, the characterisation of Meredith is laid out with finesse. We are not told what kind of person she is: we see what kind of person she is from her actions and her inner narrative.
We quickly ploughed through this title twice, entranced. Our only criticism is that it is too short. Meredith’s journey into The City would have been better if the duration of it was extended: watching her cycle through loneliness, despair, hope, and power would have been a kaleidoscope of emotion set against the lime background. But this is a faint criticism of an excellent comic.