Issue: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? #7
Writer: Philip K. Dick
Artist: Tony Parker
Covers: Bill Sienkiewicz, Moritat, Scott Keating
Letterer: Richard Starkings of COMICRAFT
Backmatter: Gregg Rickman
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
If one of the objectives of this series is to convince me to go out and buy the novel, or any novel by Phillip K. Dick, then the folks at Boom! can give themselves a skin blistering pat on the back. Also, I have not reached the same level of annoyance that Summer achieved when she read the first few installments of this effort. So I’m going to go out on a limb and say the direct adaptation of the full text was a daring move that is paying off.
I do have one complaint, however. It gets a bit annoying when you read a speech balloon of one of the characters, followed by a narration box that says that the guy just said something. For example, the Russian cop saying, “Are you Deckard?” followed by the narrative statement: “the man asked with a Slavic accent.”
I know the guy just asked Deckard if he is Deckard because this is a comic book and I see the speech balloon pointing to the guy. The dialogue tags are necessary in a novel but are annoyingly redundant in a comic book (or a movie or pantomime reenactment), so that was probably not the best stylistic choice.
But besides that, I am starting to like the idea of recreating the entire novel for this entire adaptation, instead of slicing and dicing to make it fit more traditionally into the graphic format.
So on to the story: in the previous installment, Deckard was waiting for a Russian specialist to arrive. Let’s just say when the dude shows up, Deckard gets more than he bargained for but comes out on top. It’s a nice little action scene, but the part I liked a lot more was after the attack when he tries to calm down. He has a cigarette and takes deep breaths and stuff, and then he calls his wife. It turns out she has dialed up the depression in their little home mood-controlling-device thingy.
Deckard says something along the lines of, “I just almost died, but don’t worry because I didn’t die, and even better, I just earned a thousand dollars in less than five minutes. We can get a pet ostrich after all. A real live one, not one of those fake android things.” And his wife is like, “I’m so depressed. I can’t handle our marriage. I can’t handle your job. You could die at any moment! Are you calling to tell me you’re dead?”
It’s great commentary on the human condition. I’m not exactly sure what the commentary is saying about the human condition, but I know it’s some great commentary. This is the part where Boom! can take pride in the fact that they let PKD’s real genius shine through (or, if this wasn’t a genius scene in the original novel, that they turned it into one). It’s a scene about a guy calling his wife who is depressed, but she isn’t depressed by a chemical imbalance or a life tragedy. She’s depressed because she got bored and used the machine that’s supposed to keep her happy to make her depressed.
If I were in that situation, I couldn’t think of a better reason to… start fantasizing about the android woman from two issues ago! You know, the one who was wearing those tight shirts? Our hero Deckard doesn’t let us down. He lets us in on all his weird little thoughts regarding hot android chicks. But he’s not sure if he likes Rachel Rosen in that way. First, she’s a machine. Second, she’s a little too… how do I put it? I’ll quote PKD directly. Her real problem is “no real development, especially in the bust. Figure like a child’s. He could do better.” Of course, this is a great opportunity for artist Tony Parker and colorist Blond to conjure us an image of how gorgeous Rachel Rosen really is. And they don’t disappoint.
So now we know that (1) Deckard is one tough bounty hunter, (2) his wife is totally bizarre and annoying, and (3) Deckard is a breast man.
This was a good issue. It’s got character development, good action, and a little humor thrown in for good measure.
The text at the end is by Gregg Rickman, and includes some excerpts from a talk he gave at the 25th anniversary of PKD’s death. It’s good stuff for PKD fans. Since I’m not a PKD true believer, it comes off a little bit too much as hero worship. But if PKD is one of your heroes, you’ll probably dig it.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars