Ellium: Hybrid

Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2004
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Ellium: Hybrid Creator(s): Jason Moser et al.
Publishers: Ancient World Productions (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $9.95(US)

Welcome to the Ellium universe, a world where humanity is often a pawn in a world controlled by benign forces of Technology. Inevitably then most of the comics that make up this volume have a feeling of paranoia about them, of people not quite in charge of their lives, of faceless forces at work manipulating and controlling.

This is a bleak and a complex read. The diversity of stories that take place over a very long time period plus the fact that this comic represents only a part of the total graphic novel means that I am left with many unanswered questions. It is like having half of an intriguing jigsaw. What I do have however is visually very interesting. Five of the six stories have gone for the drawn photograph effect. This is where a frame looks like it started life as a photographic image and has then been rendered with pen and pencil. The effect is unsettling and appropriate as it creates an air of distorted reality. This atmosphere is totally in keeping with the subject matter. The sixth story is drawn in a more straightforward manner and is possibly the most accessible of the six.

The characters are more often than not Matrix style in appearance, dark suits and sunglasses and this adds to the feeling that nothing is as it appears. In reading all six disparate tales one is left with the overwhelming question, who is in control? Is it an ancient force of evil, a killer succubi, an alien computer programme or a team of scientists? Or is it all of the above?

What we do know for certain is that great danger is everywhere. Individuals get glimpses of enlightenment but all these glimpses do is shatter illusions. Understandably then many of the frames consist of characters musing over decisions or events. Characters wrestle with moral dilemmas throughout this volume. This is particularly evident in the opening comic Risks of Departure where very little happens until the very end and then just as action threatens to explode the comic concludes.

As a reader I shared the same sense of entrapment displayed by many of the characters. Like them I feel that I haven’t got a full grasp of what is going on. Ultimately unsettling and I think this was just what the creators intended.

In a Word: Perplexing.

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