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Sirk TV Graphic Novel Review: ATOMIC EMPIRE [IDW]

The texture of paranoia but also undeniable reasoning of mental health as a deeper progression of a subconscious connection has been rallied over many years. That is why the era of atomic energy seems the perfect balance of the story for “Atomic Empire” [Thierry Smolderen/IDW/144pgs]. People in that time frame perhaps didn’t understand the dangers of many things from cigarettes to atomic energy or psychiatry. The art here is interesting in that it is both old school in its stick structure and oblong renderings reflecting the skewed vision that Paul, the protagonist, has of his world. He supposedly is in contact with a civilization 100,000 years into the future. A hero from there has made contact with him across time in order to keep their history alive. What is infinitely unclear is why Paul came up with this psychosis, if it is possibly real and if not, was it simply born like George McFly out of him reading science fiction stories. Ultimately the bigger story becomes a brainwashing experiment which almost seems to have nothing to do with the ideas that Paul is speaking about with his psychiatrist. In time, there seems to be a transference which definitely makes sense in terms of therapy but involves changing of bodies and the prophetic statements of a former indoctrinate who has “woken up”. “Atomic Empire” levitates some interesting ideas but makes the texture more like a convoluted “Outer Limits” episode with many disparate strands that form a whole, though not necessarily cohesive.


By Tim Wassberg

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