Boy-1 is a near future science fiction exploring issues of genetic manipulation and the nature of humans. Although the story tries to go for deep ideas, too many of the themes have already been explored, frequently, and over the last four decades especially. The adventure peters out quickly, as does the mystery, and instead we’re left with the usual “humans are flawed, let’s fix their DNA” trope that has been explored since Dolly the sheep was cloned. It’s not a terrible story by any means but an abrupt and pat ending, logic issues, and a very unlikeable protagonist spoil any chance of originality or deep ending.
Plot: Jadas lost his scientist father when young, inherited a large bioengineering company, and feeds himself a cocktail of various drugs in order to maintain mental stability. But when he becomes curious about his father, he sets off a chain of events that begin the destruction of humans. He may hold the key to the engineered virus – but he’ll have to find out more about himself first.
The art is fine with some lovely colored panels. At around 100 pages, the story is very quick and easy to follow. Indeed, just when the story seems to get going, it suddenly ends without bringing closure in the story. It’s not a cliffhanger – it’s just a very anticlimactic vapid shrug that can’t help but make the reader feel like they just wasted their time completely. It seemed like there was so much set up to explore and ponder – and then it ends.
Ethics, morality, and the downsides of human nature are supposedly explored here. The big question: let’s rewrite the bad of humans out of their DNA and start over again. But we’ve seen these massages/ideas ad nauseum: from 1960s Star Trek episodes to the lamentable Planet of the Apes reboot (referenced in the story, natch). There just nothing new here to explore. The author provides no new angle or message that could elevate the story beyond the same “what are humans?” questions that pop up in so much sci fi.
The mystery starts to get going fast but them sputters quickly. Then everything is dumped on the reader and no mysteries are left to explore. It felt like the story was written straight into a wall at 90mph – and it crashed catastrophically. At the end, I was kind of wishing something stupid like a deus ex machina alien race or transporter accident would try to give some kind of meaning to the story. But alas, it ended and I wanted that hour back.
Unfortunately, believability, logic, and other issues combined with a clichéd and inert story made this DOA for me by the end. It’s a shame, really, because I love that we have creator content graphic novels and want to support them as much as possible. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.