REVIEW: The Man Who Invented The World (2021)

A Graphic Novel by Rodolphe & art by Bertrand Marchal

I am a big fan of the works of Philip K. Dick – his mind-bending takes on science fiction have influenced countless stories and reshaped how many look at what the future could be like. More often than not Dick wrote about worlds within worlds, real life vs a forced fantasy to placate and control, even to subjugate. No, The Man Who Invented The World is not a story by PKD, but I am speaking about him because this graphic novel is astonishingly close to his style, and is one of the few works that pulls those sort of themes off pretty well. It’s all self-contained and damn near a perfect science fiction story, at least in my opinion. Heavy praise, I’m aware, but I wasn’t expecting to like this so much.

“What do we really know about the nature of the universe, and about what is hidden in the dark depths of space? Navigator Captain John Bowman is the sole survivor of an exploratory mission to the far reaches of the cosmos. Upon his return, he is plagued by terrible nightmares… but also endowed with an extraordinary power. A power capable of destroying our world… or perhaps reshaping it?”

When everyone faces almost certain destruction at the hands of a brutal war-mongering enemy, it seems the only thing to stop the carnage would be if a literal miracle were to happen. It seems that may be more likely to happen than not when the government realizes that a survivor from a expedition that ran into a pocket of black matter now has the ability to warp reality at will. Imagine what sort of monstrous power somebody like that would have? A man that could literally become the emperor of the world and kill everyone with a snap of his fingers. Astonishingly, he doesn’t want that – he largely just wants to be left alone-to live his life as a normal person. John Bowman wants to live like he did in his youth, not have to play soldier-boy in an endless space war.

When this story started, I honestly thought it was going to have a trick ending or something M. Night Shyamalan would have dreamed up. It had the same kind of vibe as the classic British Science Fiction show, The Prisoner, and I was worried it would be silly. Color me surprised when it took a turn into some real heady stuff about the nature of existence, and happiness when you could literally have anything you want. It ends in such a way that I guess there could be more, but it’s honestly perfect where it left off. The art is awesome, the worldbuilding is solid, and would honestly make an amazing film.

Europe Comics really picked an exquisite story here to bring over. If this is any indication, I really need to look up more works by Rodolphe assuming this is their wheelhouse in other works. If you are a fan of things like Blade Runner, Total Recall or even the Hollywood film Interstellar, you would likely enjoy this. It’s less action and more storytelling, but what is here is VERY well done. For what is ostensibly a space opera, it didn’t dump itself into tons of clichés or tread the paths of anything else I’ve seen. Don’t miss out on the book, definitely recommended.

If you are interested in your own copy of this book, click HERE

NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.

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