This week, IDW is releasing the first issue of a new creator-owned miniseries, BOY-1, set in the future and focusing on the Human Genome Project, the ethics of genetic modification, and a darker personal story. Is it good?
BOY-1 #1 (IDW Publishing)
Meet Jadas. He’s the heir to a genetic engineering company that just may shape the future of humanity as we know it. He’s deeply troubled, drug addled, and unsure of where he’s from or where he’s going. He’s got enough on his plate trying to lead his family’s company into the next generation, but when he uses the super-advanced tech available to him to try to unearth the secrets of his origin, he opens a whole other can of worms.
I love science fiction stories like this; ones that deal with DNA, the ethics of their manipulation, and the future of science and humanity as a result of that science. It’s one big massive grey area, which usually makes for some of the best stories. The comic points out that humans have been genetically breeding for 700 years, when the first man realized that breeding one large horse with another one will probably yield more large horses. This really is the same concept of DNA manipulation, just on a far more scientifically advanced level, which usually leads to fear, uncertainty and doubt. But it’s a perfectly valid question: how much is too much in this realm? Where do we draw the line? What is the correct balance between creating better, happier human beings and accidentally destroying the very things that make us human?
It’s a heavy subject, and one that tackled alone would make for an interesting comic, but this comic also introduces a mystery of sorts as Jadas discovers clues that lead him to a strange lab of sorts where he’s on the cusp of learning things about his father and himself that he never knew. The cliffhanger at the end of the issue seems to plainly suggest one option, which I won’t spoil here, but it will be very interesting to see where they go with it.
H.S. Tak’s writing in BOY-1 is sharp and thought provoking. The dialogue is believable and the weighty subjects are handled in plain enough English that it’s easy to follow along. Tak is crafting a mystery here that has the potential to be way bigger than the sum of its parts thanks to the fact that it hinges on one of the great ethical questions of our time.
Amancay Nahuelpan’s artwork is beautiful, and helps carry the story along from page to page, with deliberate line work and people who are realistic yet brimming with personality. The sci-fi features are interesting as well, ranging from glowing pills to a Zordon-like artificial intelligence that makes this world feel at once familiar and not of this time.
Is It Good?
I’m hooked. I’m a sucker for science fiction stories, especially ones that tackle complex ethical questions, and BOY-1 seems to be just that ambitious while at the same time crafting a mystery that should tie us closer to the characters and expound on the genetic manipulation theme. If you’re a sci-fi thriller fan, you’d be remiss not to pick this up.