Xerox Shares Go Up As The World Goes Dark In Analog #2

by Richard Bruton

We’re back with Analog, the new series from Image Comics, Jerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan. I reviewed issue 1 and loved it, with pretty much everything, from the high concept, the on-point dialogue, the fast action pacing, hitting spot on. Well, here’s issue 2, and you know what? It’s just as good. Definitely one to add to your own buy-pile!
If you recall, the Warren Ellis-esque concept was that a very bad thing happened back on Christmas 2020, and the world suddenly went open-source, every bit of private info suddenly out there for all to see, the world’s secrets not secret anymore. Sound familiar? Facebook privacy issues anyone? Well, unless Duggan had a very culturally tuned in crystal ball, I reckon the conflating of Analog’s fictional privacy destruction tale and real life is just a magnificently timed coincidence, but it’s a damn good one, with a tale made all the better for its reflection of the real world.
In Analog, it’s now 2024, four years post the great doxxing, and things have moved on, with some embracing it and coping with the new worldscape of no secrets, no privacy. Others went off grid, and more than a few went totally off the wall mad. As for the really big secrets, well, they’re still about, its just meant the really big, dangerous, suspect sorts of info have become highly prized, moved from point to point, person to person old style, analog style.
And the people tasked with moving the really dangerous info around? They’re the Ledger Men. And Jack McGinnis, well he’s one of the best…

I’m the world’s safest way to move information. Safe for your secrets. Not for me. My name is Jack McGinnis, and I’m a Ledger Man.

When last we left him, Jack McGinnis had pitched up in Queens, to visit his washed-up, possibly alcoholic old dad. The bottles in the sink, they might not be the old man reverting to form though…
“Don’t give me shit. I poured most of it out. I got paranoid somebody poisoned ’em.”
“Christ. How’d you figure it out?”
“I drank it.
I fell down for a while and hallucinated. It was horrible. But it didn’t do the job. Here I am better than ever.”
Old man McGinnis figures there’s someone out there killing the paper jockeys. The people who move the information no-one wants broadcasting in this open and transparent new world. And that’s where we left issue 1, with a shitload of government issue black sedans, government issue black suits, and a lot of government issue guns pitching up.
McGinnis and his papa’s father-son bonding has that great Ellis style crackle to it, the product of way too many late nights, too much whiskey and caffeine. Duggan’s dialog just fizzes all the way through, half hard boiled Chandler, half grin-worthy daftness.
As you might expect, the goons are merely an introduction, as the real threat comes from the diminutive form of “Aunt Sam“… and all of a sudden, it looks like Sam’s got a new boss…

And all she wants is for Jack to fix the mess he made, all those years back in Palo Alto. We heard reference to that mess up in issue #1, and I figure we’ll be finding out much more about Jack’s involvement in turning the world analog only in future issues.

You’re going to help me stuff the genie back in the bottle and fix the world.

All the secretive “Aunt Sam” wants is a peek at all the info Jack and the other ledger-men around the world are passing round. There are photocopiers. There are lots of photocopiers.

Yeah, it’s definitely a fun second issue. If the first issue set up the Analog world and introduced us to Jack, this second is all about setting him on a new path, bringing the story to him and letting him go nuts. With Jack, Duggan’s created a perfect foil to play off this brave new analog world.
There’s nothing essentially new in Analog, but it’s Duggan very cleverly playing with many standard notions of future dystopias and throwing something very much of the now into the mix. As for Jack, he’s a classic stereotype for sure, and it could have been a tiresome thing, seeing yet another hard-boiled, Chandler-esque, wise-cracking, trenchcoat-clad drunk with a gun and a chip on his shoulder bouncing around this always-on world. But there’s enough going on here with Duggan’s ideas and his razor-sharp dialog taking the stereotype and reveling in it. A stereotype Jack might be, but in Duggan and O’Sullivan’s hands there’s a bigger tale coming out of a simple stereotyped lead. In Analog, everything is about the contrast, with the stereotype of Jack against a brave new world of intrusion and data privacy apocalypse feeling very much prescient in this modern data age.
Finally, let’s talk David O’Sullivan’s artwork. There’s still than Gary Erskine look to it, although there’s hints of John Romita Jr. sneaking in as well. Most of all, it looks damn fine. Sure, it’s rough and ready at times sure, a bit too blocky, posed, figures in strobe-like moments, captured in fixed pose. But then he pulls off rain that looks so damn great and you forgive any little missteps…

Analog is shaping up to be that best of things, a series that started out fast and furious from the gate and just keeps going into this second issue. It’s a page-turner, the dialog fizzes off the page, the concept is intriguing, the artwork does all it should… definitely one I’m into for the duration.
Analog issue #2 by Gerry Duggan (writer), David O’Sullivan (artist), Mike Spicer (colors), Joe Sabino (letters), is published monthly by Image Comics. As a bonus, the beautiful variant cover by Phil Noto. Issue #2 is currently available from Image Comics.

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