REVIEW: Akiva Vol 1 (2020)

A Comic by Chase Hull and Lydia Bliss

It’s interesting to note just how much the genre of cyberpunk is coming back into fashion. Largely a staple of late 80’s and early 90’s science fiction, one can only look at the news to see the sorts of situations dreamed up by the likes of William Gibson many years ago starting to come true. Huge corporations controlling governments, rival hackers attacking critical infrastructure on a national level, questions of humanity vs transhumanism, cloning etc. all topics up for grabs now. Akiva, a comic series by Chase Hull and Lydia Bliss for Entheogen Publications is one of the more interesting titles in this new wave of Cyberpunk, and so far it looks promising. The series has been funded through Kickstarter, which is what the publisher usually does with all releases. Normally they do books that are ONLY intended for an adult audience, and this is really no different, although there is much more violence than explicit sex.

“Humanity had hoped that through technological and scientific advances that they’d become galactic utopian societies. This is not the case. The futuristic promises of America in the twenty-first century were merely a façade for what they are, which is a multi-generational caste system living in a dystopian hell. Life has become wrought with the misery of our pacifism, but this will no longer be tolerated. Akiva was created to be the counterbalance for the ills that plague our society. This book chronicles her rather gruesome and blood-thirsty conquest to liberate her society of its greed, through any means necessary.”

In some ways, this book takes a page out of the playbook of the popular Japanese cyberpunk epic, Ghost in the Shell. Akiva is a sexy cybernetic assassin that uses her intelligence and body to get close to prominent oligarchs and other morally bankrupt members of high society on a mission to liberate them from their daily lives. We don’t really get a grasp of what exactly has caused this crusade against the wealthy, and who actually is “in charge” of Akiva, so it will be interesting to see what is done in book two. What we do have here, is her going on a Kill Bill styled rampage where a target is focused on and taken down, then marked off a list. Considering the philosophical lean of the book, I’d imagine that all of these guys have done something to her in the past, and I will be ready to see what that is.

Speaking of philosophy, one of the only downfalls of the plot of this book is that the slower moments where Akiva is decompressing from a mission usually snowball into long-winded discussions on the fragility of life, and the morality of greed. While I’d love this in the hands of somebody like Neil Gaiman or Alan Moore, the author is a bit in over his head and it comes off very stilted. These are not written in the most subtle way, and I feel like a bit more work could have been done to ease the reader into these walls of text. We shall see if there are some improvements in book two.

Despite my issues with the story, this is still a solid indie comic, and has just just enough sexiness and cool action scenes to justify a purchase. If you are a Kindle Unlimited user, this title is actually free, so there’s literally nothing to lose. The artwork is pretty good, and seeing that it’s the same artist from another book these two worked on, I am sad to see that this was apparently their last collaboration – volume two will be an all new art team. This is definitely not a book for children, while I showed images of the more action-related scenes, there is a lot of nudity, and gore – parental discretion advised. I can’t wait for more of this series!

For more information, and purchasing links, click HERE

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