The Terrors Of Drone Warfare Come Home In Disconnect

by James Ferguson

Kelly’s life is already complicated. She’s a single mom struggling to make ends meet while her loser of an ex hovers nearby. Her work as a drone operator is starting to bleed into her home life. She’s troubled by horrifying visions of the people she’s watched and killed half a world away. Everything around her suddenly feels like a house of cards and it’s about to crumble.

Disconnect has a rather sterile approach at first, shifting between Kelly’s disparate worlds. This is probably how drone operators have to work in order to separate themselves from the murders they commit while sitting in the safety of an office building on a completely different continent. It’s not war in the trenches, but it can have the same traumatic effects on a person’s psyche.
In the beginning, Kelly seems to have it together, but the cracks start to show as the story goes on. Writer Dan Hill adds more and more as time goes on to the point where it feels like the poor woman’s whole world is about to shatter. We begin to question reality itself. Is this what is actually happening? Or is Kelly hallucinating as a way of dealing with the horrific acts she’s had to perform through the drone?

This uncertainty creates a rather unsettling experience that is sure to send a shiver up your spine. It turns Disconnect into a startling thriller even as Kelly does mundane things like drive her son to school. The juxtaposition between an action like that and what’s going through her mind is staggering. She becomes a ticking time bomb.
Artist Gav Heryng handles the transitions incredibly well, often repeating angles, but showing them in a different light. For example, we’ll see a shot of Kelly in shock at her work station and then shift to the same setup, but now she’s exhausted starring at the school principal. You instantly understand the effects this job is having on her. It’s taking a toll.

Disconnect doesn’t flow in a linear fashion per se. It bounces between a few different parts of Kelly’s life, but never feels confusing. Instead, you see how each aspect of her world pushes her farther and farther down until there’s no possible way she can stand it any longer. Heryng gives you a good idea as to how these visions of horror flash into Kelly’s mind. This gives the comic a cinematic quality.
Disconnect is a heart-pounding thriller mixing modern day technological warfare with the stress of everyday civilian life. It paints a frightening picture of how one can have disturbing effects on the other. More importantly, it shows how stressful life as a drone operator can be, removed from the heat of battle, but not without the trauma that comes with it.
Disconnect from Mallet Productions is currently available digitally through ComiXology.

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