Reviews

Comic Review – Symmetry #2

  • Writer: Matt Hawkins
  • Artist: Raffaele Ienco
  • Letterer: Troy Peteri
  • Publisher: Image Comics & Top Cow Productions
  • Release Date: January 20, 2016

In the world of Symmetry, diversity and differences aren’t welcome in the utopian society.

Last month, we saw the fractures in the utopia as an EMP wave disabled and destroyed much of the RAINAs and robots in Wolf Creek. With this vacation spot for their civilization destroyed, hundreds of people are dying and civilization is just… shattering.

This month in Symmetry #2, we see what comes next. The narrative splits a bit, looking at what happens in Wolf Creek and how the main arm of the utopian society is preparing to deal with the catastrophe. I like the way that Michael, our protagonist, is speaking from the future and relating past events to his child because it gives us a thin thread of hope for the future.

Symmetry #2 Cover
Symmetry #2 Cover

Back in Wolf Creek, people are dying. Michael and the others not only witness racial diversity for the first time, but they also witness death and negative emotions for the first time. They don’t handle either very well. I’m talking full on chaos, and this is before the world seriously goes through greater effects of the EMP wave. Part of this, is because the people of this society have been drugged into compliance thanks to medicine slipped into their food that kills their emotions and forces them to live a specially numbed life.

As that starts to wear off, so does the makeshift peace of that civilization.

Michael, unlike most of the other characters in Symmetry #2, seems to be handling the situation better than most. While he’s understandably shaken by his first experience with death, he still takes to Maricela’s existence better than even the Elder standing before her. The idea that the world is falling to pieces phases him, as it should, but Maricela’s differences don’t.

And I think that’s awesome that his instinct isn’t to shun her for her differences, but to welcome her into the fold on some level.

One of the things that Matt Hawkins talks about through the book and within the essaylike portion at the back, is equality. Namely, how equality doesn’t actually exist in terms of humanity all being equal. We’re all different due to our race, gender, sexuality, and even the things that we like to eat and entertain ourselves with and people have unfortunately evolved to mistreat people based on the unchangeable.

Within the world we see in Symmetry #2, differences are deadly. If you shift from the accepted parameters, you’re likely to wind up being killed for it. From the start, we can see that Michael, with his desire to be kind to Maricela even though she represents a huge threat to everything that he’s ever known, represents that kind of difference.

And we know that he’ll most likely pay for it.

The Council made up of Elders (basically the oldest white people in the society, as per Hawkins), shows that they might be more messed up and definitely less empathetic than the robots in this society. The idea of difference, of diversity on any level horrifies them.

Well –

Unless they can use their connections with people like Africans to handle their dirty work. Segregation until you need something, that’s the way it’s done in this society. And it’s terrible.

Symmetry #2 ends with Michael about to be attacked by wolves. You know, because the one thing that most utopians can’t control are the animals. Right now, animals are thriving and starving. So the issue’s last page of art shows what happens when tightly controlled humans are faced with animals that are free (and willing) to rend them to pieces.

I’m still enjoying Symmetry as a comic because it makes me think. It’s a work of utopian science fiction, but there’s also a philosophical and sociological slant to it, something that I find fascinating. What will the future bring Michael and Maricela? Who knows, but I’m excited to find out!


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About the author

Zina Hutton

writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories.

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