Updated: Apr 12, 2021
Writer: Karla Nappi
Art: Marianna Strychowska
Publisher: Second Sight
WHAT IS IT?
The best explanation for Duplicant comes from the writer herself: "DUPLICANT came from my love of dystopian future movies like Minority Report, Blade Runner, and a little known movie called Repo: The Genetic Opera. The idea of repo men for organs struck a creative chord in me, and I decided to do my own unique twist on it."
Honestly, when I saw Repo: The Genetic Opera (one of my favorite movies) listed, I knew I had to check it out!
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Earth goes through an organ failure epidemic, but Regenerist Tech fails to find a cure. Luckily, one Regenerist Tech scientist, Matt Travers, perfects organ duplication. That feat is an amazing one that can change lives, yet a conglomerate of corporations makes it illegal to receive a human transplant. Thus, the only option being a duplicate organ once one of yours fails. But, if you cannot pay for a new duplicate, your debt is auctioned off. If your debt is paid for, your new boss/owner can use you for whatever they desire.
That paragraph above is just an abbreviated form of Duplicant #1's opening narration which is amazing in its details. Once Pamela Wilton's lungs fail, she needs a transplant. But, when the doctors look at her book account (scary, right?) they realize she doesn't have enough funds. That in mind, they send her to the "Auction House" where she is bought.
Continuing from here is the story of Pamela and her new "Employer," while splicing in Matt Travers' disdain for what has become of his creation. When Matt made the duplicate organs, he did it for good and the betterment of society. But, as stories and real-life go, the government had other plans.
Nappi's story is amazing, and though you can see the inspiration from other stories, she and the team behind "Duplicant" make the world their own. The first two issues are a great set-up for a thought-provoking story that is equally terrifying and fascinating. Some of the story beats may even be ones you see in real life in the future.
The use of a lung (what Pamela receives) in the logo is amazing, helping it stand out.
Yes, we know I love covers, and boy golly, do I love both issues covers for Duplicant. Honestly, Nappi's pitch sold me, but the cover alone would have sold me just as easily. Good work Leila del Duca and Owen Gieni on such eye-grabbing covers!
Credit pages can be made lazy, or creative. "Duplicant" falls on the creative side! The team showcases a 3D printing machine making a lung. Pretty cool visual, plus the second issue includes a "Previously" write-up. I love these, and weirdly enough, not many people do this.
Like the films that inspired it, "Duplicant" opens with a narration of what has happened with its world. This can feel like a lazy trope to some, but Nappi makes it absolutely work. It helps that the visuals are great, and keeps the narration boxes interesting.
Nappi's script is pretty tight with a great helping of lore-building and plots that are very interesting. Everything seems thought-out with a beginning, middle, and end, plus great characters and an awesome concept, to boot.
Talking about characters: Matt is pretty damn interesting. Nappi gives him a great backstory, motivations, and characteristics that make you root for him. Hopefully, we see a lot of him in the future.
A lot of the technology and ideas that are seen throughout "Duplicant" seem realistic, and that they could happen in years to come – especially the 3D printed organ technology which is in its early stages in the real world.
Both issues of "Duplicant" end in great cliffhangers that make you want to pick up the next book A.S.A.P! For comics that release in single issues, that is a big deal, and the team behind "Duplicant" understand that while capitalizing on it.
Strychowska's realistic art style works perfectly with the story and themes being told.
For a story that relies more on storytelling and "talking heads," Strychowska keeps it engaging. Yet, the few times there is violence, she makes sure the scenes hit hard.
The colors are also handled by Strychowska and, much like the pencilwork, the colors work in perfect conjunction. They aren't bright or shiny, but clean and flat that reflects the feeling a hospital (and dystopian future) would give you.
Both issues are lettered by someone different, but there is no jarring change and they match the world portrayed. As "Duplicant" is a serious comic that tries to be as realistic as possible, it bodes well that none of the lettering looks too "comic book-y."
Memorable Quote: "If any single one of you feels like they're going to blow a gasket, shove it down your pie hole, and plug up your ass to keep it from getting out. Am I clear?" – Sean. That's a pretty great motivational speech, if I say so myself!
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
TRIGGER WARNING: There is a moment of rape in the first issue. The action is not shown, yet the before and after are.
At times, the lettering seen in the narration boxes blends in with the colored background inside said boxes. This is due to the bright or dark colors. It doesn't happen all the time, yet when it does, it's hard to read.
As the art is done in a more realistic manner, some lines can look weird. This can be seen a few times where characters' faces look awkwardly shaped. In one case, when Matt is holding a tablet/book/thingy, his arm is bent and looks small, like it has a T-Rex problem.
There are two pages that have panels that make said page hard to read. In one, it's a split between two moments yet the backgrounds look near-identical, but they are different moments in time. This can be confusing and throw off the flow. The second confusing panel happens when two characters are talking and the conversation changes for the worse, but there isn't a panel break between these moments. Instead, it's a long panel with them doubled, looking like it's a group of four people. I understand what the team was going for, but the execution was confusing.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
If the inspirations and the amazing cover didn't draw you in, then there may be something wrong. Jokes aside, "Duplicant" #1-2 is amazing in its many aspects. Despite a few minor (very minor) hiccups, the team shows a great understanding of characters and the world they inhabit.
After finishing "Duplicant" #1-2, I found myself wanting more while figuring out ways to spread the word on this great new comic. Personally, if "Duplicant" keeps the great quality seen in these two issues, it will go down as a comic you need to read.
Pick up your copy of Duplicant when it hits stores this week!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Petal the Timid Inventor by Karla Nappi and Joe Feliciano
Neon Future by Jim Krueger, Neil Edwards, Jheremy Raapack, Keith Champagne and Abraham Lee
Blade Runner 2019 VOL. 1 by Micheal Green, Mike Johnson, Andres Guinaldo and Marco Lesko
If you like the art:
The Witcher Of Flesh and Flame by Aleksandra Motyka and Marianna Strychowska
Over The Ropes #1 by Jay Sandlin and Antonello Cosentino
Going to The Chapel by David Pepose and Gavin Guidry
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Karla Nappi – Writer
Worked on quite a few Television show scripts
Her great uncle is Rudy Nappi, who did many different pulp fiction novel covers, including Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys.
Marianna Strychowska – Art
Outlander: Born and raised in Ostrów Wielkopolski
Joshua Reed – Lettering/Production (Issue 1)
Multitalented: Letterer/Design/Production/Editorial Assistant at Aspen Comics
Carlos Mangual – Lettering/Production (Issue 2)
Founder of Social Myth Studios
Spent eight years as an in-house letterer for DC Comics
Leila del Duca – Cover Linework
Artist on forthcoming Original Graphic Novel, Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed
Runs an ETSY shop with original art and pages/covers from published work
Owen Gieni – Cover Colors
Outlander: Lives in Canada
Tends to opt for a tight watercolor aesthetic in his work
Vince Hernandez – Editor (Issue 1)
VP/Editor in Chief at Aspen Comics and owner of Primetime Collectibles
Multitalented: Has worked as a writer on Fathom
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Click one of these:
Here's the Previews World link.
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