Alan Smithee

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? #21 – Review

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Will we finally find out just what exactly the story is behind Mercerism? Will Buster Friendly let a cat out of the bag that the rest of the world doesn’t care to know? What’s been going on with J.R. Isidore and the remaining Nexus-6 androids? We finally find out this month.

I will be going pretty in depth spoileriffic with this review, especially since some important ideas were brought up this issue, so if you haven’t read it yet, I’m warning you now.

This issue is all Isidore and the Nexus-6 androids…the whole thing. There’s no android hunting and killing, so if you’re looking for some action, this isn’t your book this month. I will say that this is perhaps one of the most thought provoking issues in the series so far. I’ll be surprised if this series doesn’t get another Eisner Award-nomination this year, and I’ll be pissed if they don’t bring it home.

If you didn’t catch the last issue, Deckard made sweet sweet love to the android Rachael who thought (incorrectly) that it would make Deckard reconsider tracking down the last four of the remaining fugitive androids. It ended with him and Rachael heading towards J.R. Isidore’s lonely apartment building, this is important and interesting because all of this was happening at the same time as this issue.

Interesting how? Well we have Deckard who learned that no matter how empathetic he felt towards the android’s plight, it is his job to hunt down and kill them…and in Isidore’s apartment we see the same thing from the androids. I’m not saying that the androids are going to hunt down Deckard or anything, but they too have their programming and can’t break out of it.

The scene that drives this home is after Isidore finds a spider in his building (a rare sight on Earth) and captures it to keep as a pet, showing once again the human need to show empathy towards living things. The android Pris is captivated by this acquisition and proceeds to slowly cut off half of the spider’s legs stating that “he can survive with four”. This of course hurts Isidore’s feelings as to a human, the life of even a lowly spider is to be revered.

To ease the spider’s pain, Isidore puts it out of its misery. Another move that the androids don’t understand.

I love the writing for this book, and of course I would, it’s taken verbatim from Philip Dick’s classic novel…but the art that accompanies this amazing series from Tony Parker just adds that extra bit of oomf that is sometimes missing from my mind’s eye when reading only the book. There are numerous examples this issue of how the art heightens the story, especially when we see the evil glint in the eyes of the androids as they take the spider’s legs.

All the stuff with the spider isn’t even the focus for this book, no, that goes to the expose of Mercerism at the hands of Buster Friendly. We come to find out that the entirety of Mercerism is a sham. The person who people believe is Mercer is actually an actor, and the environment that you share with him as he climbs his mountain was actually a sound stage with rubber rocks. So, Mr. Friendly essentially takes a big dump on the world’s last remaining religion.

What I found most interesting is that the book shows us that it’s not the people or the circumstances that make a religion what it is, but the overall message that is behind movements like Mercerism that matter. And from my standpoint, and Isidore’s, Mercerism is about empathy and promoting a feeling that even though you may suffer, you won’t do it alone. Try as they might, the androids can’t defeat this overall theme through straight facts.

STORY: 99%
ART: 95%

At the end of the issue we get confirmation that the final 3 issues of this 24 issue masterpiece will be completely kick ass and amazing. Oh we also find out that Buster Friendly is an android too.

I’m constantly impressed with the great stuff that BOOM! Studios puts out week to week and I’m going to be sad when this series is all said and done. At least we’ll have Planet of the Apes to take its place, am I right?

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