Advance Review: When The New Seems All Too Familiar In `Wiper’
by Tom Smithyman
An original graphic novel? With some familiar story elements pulled from other genre stories, perhaps not. Even still, Wiper has a lot going for it – from interesting situations to great artwork.
While the future may not be all it’s cracked up to be, in the world of Wiper, neither it seems is the past.
Colored with shades of Total Recall, Blade Runner and Chinatown, this original graphic novel introduces readers to Lula Nomi, a wiper or private investigator whose memory of each job she works is erased upon completion. Nomi seems like a private detective pulled from the world of film noir, despite the story being set in 2223. She’s having trouble making ends meet, so when a when a mysterious robot offers her a huge payday to find a missing journalist, Nomi is all in.
Of course, all is not as it seems to be. The more Nomi unravels the mystery of the reporter’s disappearance, the more she realizes that she’s peeling an onion. And she is at the center of that enigma.
Writer John Harris Dunning crafts an interesting – if somewhat unoriginal tale. After all, there’s nothing wrong with taking great ideas from the best in the business. (As the saying goes: good artists borrow; great artists steal.) Still, you can’t help but think you’ve read the story before. The reality is, you have. It’s just different story threads and twists taken from other genre tales. Does that make Wiper a bad story? Not at all. It’s very, very good. It’s just a tad too familiar at times.
Ricardo Cabral’s artwork also had a familiar feeling. Perhaps it’s the color from Brad Simpson, which gives the book a 90s feel. In any case, this is clearly a labor of love for Cabral. He has free rein to create all manner of aliens and robots – from the sublime to the seductive. And he nails them. The first few pages of the book – which depict a nuclear war among Western countries and the subsequent rise of Africa as a superpower – are more than enough to hook the reader.
This is a great introduction to a vibrant new world developed by this creative team. There is no reason that additional stories can’t be told in the Wiper-verse. And if this book is any indication of what could come, new installments would be a welcome addition.
Wiper will be available for purchase on November 16, 2022.