The long awaited prequel to Aphelion 1.1: Fish Eye is out, now with 100% more involuntary destructive mind uploading. The first Aphelion introduced us to Babyface, a ten meter tall anthropomorphic combat chassis containing the uploaded mind of Brian as it's face personality. Brian and everyone else involved is concerned that he's sharing his body with a homicidal AI. How did Brian's life go so wrong?
We All Fall Down begins in a flashback where a young Brian and his younger brother are seeking shelter from that year's Asher, visible in the sky as curving wall shaped mega structures that are bringing the temperature down. The only people visible with them are other children making there way across the cooling landscape. In the present Brian, still quite human, is packing his bags and reminiscing. Brian's apartment shows off the comics cool future aesthetic with the wall paper being a fully stereoscopic fantasy landscape of trees with butterflies for leaves. It really impressed me because I missed it the first few times I looked at it. Both comics really excel at inserting detail that make rereading worth while. Brian tells his suit case to fold up, his apartment to hibernate and heads outside only to be ambushed by a friend, Millie. They chew the fat and readers get to chew the scenery; people with electronic cases for heads, trees that appear to be growing eyes instead of fruit, some sort of plastic sheeting up in the sky presumably cutting them off from the outside atmosphere. Brian admits that he's going to visit the hive named Cantor and Millie admits that she's thinking of joining a hive herself. Brian arrives at Cantor base and meet most of his brother (now a part of Cantor) to ask for the bodies of his (or their) parents. Something goes very wrong, Cantor's teleoperated body collapses, and terrifying flesh golems grab Brian and drag him to Null. When Brian wakes up he's dead and the body hosting his personality is facing down some very big guns. The remainder of the story is the hives in virtual reality arguing over whether to kill it/him or not and includes one of my favorite lines: "Is it simulating a hostage? We despise that old trick. Let's nuke it and be done." Of course, they decided to let him live provided some conditions. The last few pages provide some background on the behavior of the Ashers including the fact they fry peoples' implants and in the process their brains.
We All Fall Down is as good (if not better than) the original. The art is beautiful, the scenes are so packed with details of a trans-human future that I discover something new on every reading and the plot ... well it's unique enough that I honestly have no idea what to expect from Aphelion2. Read it here.
9 FAST 9 FERROUS