Narcopolis, written by Jamie Delano, illustrated by Jeremy Rock (2008): Jamie Delano’s one of those fine comic-book writers who never seems to be on anybody’s radar to the extent that he should be despite terrific runs on titles that include John Constantine Hellblazer and Animal Man. Here he goes the dystopia route with a future world that mixes elements of 1984, Brave New World, and, um, tentacles.

In the future world of Narcopolis, every good citizen spends much of the day medicated in some way. The city of Narcopolis periodically launches devastating military attacks on any human settlements that exist outside itself, branding these humans as ‘BadEvil’ (the Orwellian homages reside mostly in the language of Narcopolis).

Citizen Gray Neighbour, one of the few people left who questions how things work and why, finds himself in a relationship with one of Narcopolis’s security agents. Soon, he’s been inducted into the security agency itself. But he’s also on a quest to break the hold that Narcopolis’s various drugs have on human consciousness in order to literally see what’s really going on behind the scenes but really out in the open.

Delano does a nice job of writing future dialogue, with a host of new or mutated terms the meaning of which must be gained by paying attention to their context. Jeremy Rock’s hard-eged, representational art falls into what I’d call the Avatar Press ‘house style’ — cleanly depicted and seemingly mimetic, it wouldn’t be out of place in a Vertigo title of the early 1990’s. The miniseries ends on something of a cliffhanger, which is a bummer, so hopefully more will be on the way. Recommended.

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