Analog takes place in 2024, a world where the digital realm has become completely transparent. All Internet users have had their secrets exposed in the ‘great doxxing.’ In this way the setup is similar to Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente’s series The Private Eye. There are no secrets online, so any information that needs to stay secret has become the province of couriers known as ‘Ledger Men’ or ‘Paper Jockeys’—armed couriers who can safely transport an attache case full of paper documents. Anything important is now analog instead of digital.

The book opens with courier Jack McGinnis at a meet in a St. Louis park. Things have already taken a bad turn, and the violence escalates. McGinnis is not a private eye, but he has the same hard cynicism and wears bad luck like a crown. As he walks through a dystopian New York, he reveals that he had a part in the chaos that took place in 2020 when the Internet was changed.

When someone from the U.S. government kidnaps him (just call her “Aunt Sam”) the big reveal is a room full of copy machines. They aren’t trying to stop the courier deliveries, they just want copies. McGinnis manages to elude his tail and get to Japan alone, where he delivers his package and meets with a creepy (and inquisitive) A.I. Next thing he knows, Aunt Sam sends him to San Francisco where he confronts the rich Internet tycoon Oppenheimer (clearly modeled on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg) who he thought he had killed earlier. The arc ends with no answers, just a great many questions to be answered in future issues.

Analog is an odd mix of dystopian future and noir; at times the story can’t seem to decide which one it is, and the noir mystery tends to proceed about the way it would have in a normal setting, with the addition of a few modern technological flourishes (to be fair, that includes the big mystery McGinnis faces at the end). O’Sullivan’s artwork is big on atmosphere and action, with generally minimal background detail. This work is of potential interest for adult fans of sci-fi or crime noir. The story includes rough language and sexual situations, so the Mature rating is appropriate.

Analog: A Cyborg-Dystopian Noir Vol. 1: Death By Algorithm
By Gerry Duggan
Art by David O’Sullivan, Jordie Bellaire, Michael Spicer
ISBN: 9781534308381
Image Comics, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: M/Mature

  • Mark S.

    Past Reviewer

    I am a musician/composer (librarian by profession) with a special interest in “mature readers” comic books, especially those published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint. Now retired, in the past I have worked as an academic reference librarian and Director of Research at an executive search firm; my last position was reference librarian at Hughes Main Library in the Greenville County Library System in Greenville, SC. My writing history includes book reviews for Library Journal and Salem Press, and I was a regular contributor of recording reviews to Option Magazine. I am currently a Contributor (as well as Article Editor) at the website All About Jazz and a moderator at the Captain Comics website. My comics blog is Mr. Vertigo Comics (https://mrvertigocomics.wordpress.com/).

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