I would like to start by saying that this review might be a little short on details and specifics. That’s because I’d really like to avoid giving away too much since I believe this comic book deserves to be experienced and appreciated without too many spoilers. But I will try my best to gain your interest anyway.
SVK is, as noted above, a comic book (I would like to call it a graphic novel but it’s not paperback or long enough to qualify for that definition) collaboration between writer Warren Ellis, illustrator/designer Matt “D’Israeli” Brooker and London based design studio BERG. It also has a foreword by William Gibson. Yes, THAT William Gibson, the godfather of cyberpunk.
It is the story about “security consultant” Thomas Woodwind and his latest assignment, taking place in future London, or at least it’s the foundation and scenery for the story.
Thomas takes on an assignment where he is asked to locate and return a prototype of a product that one of the lead developers had on his person at the time of him disappearing. The client in question is a key figure (CEO, president, owner, it’s not clear) at the company that developed the product, Mr. Marley, whom with Thomas has a past.
Without giving to much away I will just say that the core essence of SVK is not the high-tech, comic noir of this detective story but rather the questions on morals, big brother-type surveillance society and dystopia that you as a reader will be faced with, in true Orwell/Kafka spirit, the more you get into the adventure.
One of the most interesting aspects of SVK is that you do not only get the comic book/magazine which is in itself very nicely illustrated, but you also get a credit card sized UV light. The interesting thing about this is that it will come quite handy during your read. It’s actually a necessity for the story to live up to it’s full potential.
It’s an exciting take on the production of a comic book and for me personally it was one of the best things I’ve seen when it comes to comics and graphic novels. It’s not just a gimmick, it really brings the story to life and it’s such a perfect fit for this story in particular.
SVK also contains some extra material and two articles. One by Paul Gravett, the director of the Comica Festival in London and one very interesting article by Jamais Cascio that is not only a great read but which also connects well with the story in the comic itself.
I can only recommend, strongly I might add, SVK to anyone who reads and likes comics and graphic novels in general, and to everyone who likes dark, provocative and dystopian stories in particular.
You can order your copy of SVK over at BERG London.