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‘Eden’ (review)

Written by Matthew Arnold
Art by Riccardo Burchielli
Published by ComiXology Originals

 

If there is one thing that I hate about modern storytelling is the hamfisted ways in which contemporary writers push across their moral agendas.

When CW shows like Supergirl and Arrow decided to make a big push to introduce homosexual characters, I did not have a problem with that.

But when these characters transformed from being fully developed human beings to political ideologues, both shows lost me for good.

Good storytelling subtly reveals the moral of the story and makes you agree with the conclusion by laying the groundwork for the author’s central theme.

In my opinion, the 1960s was probably the zenith of weaving morality and science fiction.

Shows like Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits were able to entertain and educate at the same time deftly.

As a kid growing up, hip hop rapper KRS One coined the phrase “edutainment.” In my opinion, only Black Mirror has succeeded in telling these types of stories in modern times. Also, season three of the FX series Atlanta has gone to great lengths to become an anthology series each week dispensing a new moral story from the Paper Boi’s alternative version of Earth.

Anyway, it still surprises me when I encounter a piece of fiction that not only sucks me in but teaches me something and gives me even more to consider.

The ComiXology Originals Eden, written by Matthew Arnold, creator of the short-lived NBC series Emerald City is a rare gem that still manages to surprise me.

Eden is not only a story abort starting over; it is a tale of redemption and forgiveness. When a new law declares that convicted criminals should be cryogenically frozen instead of jailed, society thinks it has found a more humane way to deal with inmates. But when a senator accused of a horrible crime is imprisoned under this new system, she will have to face a bizarre and frightening reality unlike anything she can imagine.

In the graphic novel, two convicts, senator Anna Croft and her police officer husband, Ben, are sentenced to twenty-five years in a newly constructed cryogenic penal facility for a crime they claim they didn’t commit. However, Anna, Ben, and a few others are accidentally released due to a malfunction.

Once free, the escapees discover that they’ve been frozen for thousands of years and are the only survivors in a catastrophic future where prehistoric creatures walk the Earth once more. With this unexpected second chance, the fugitives are forced to create a new society and must decide whether or not to release the rest of the imprisoned criminals to survive.

Eden is a light and easy read, and I blew through it in less than an hour. Despite that quick read, the book’s ending is genuinely heavy and thought-provoking. I enjoyed Arnold’s world and theme, and I cannot wait for his next effort.

Final Score: 5 of 5 Stars

 

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