24seven (Image Comics)

The NYCMech gang captures the noir mood of a modern city, where sleaze, viewed through a certain lens, becomes romantic in this new anthology from Image Comics.

Image Comics; 225 pgs. FC; $24.95

(W & A: various; Editor: Ivan Brandon)

 

The cover to 24seven by Adam Hughes.24Seven is a big ol' $24.95, 225-page glossy sketch party by fans of comic/collective NYCMech (http://www.nycmech.com/). The NYCMech folks get their kicks by imagining the most gritty, brutal, raw kind of New York, populated by cyborgs instead of people — like Blade Runner, without the philosophical questions.

 

Editor Ivan Brandon has assembled an impressive group of artists for the compilation. Nate Bellegarde's robots with televisions for heads are oddly endearing. Alex Maleev's mastery of light and shadow makes every rust spot on his aging robots a treat. Rob G offers a real-world first-person-shooter video game taking place in a wasteland of gorgeous decay.

 

Interior art by Chris Brunner, story by John Ney RieberThe best stories include Rick Spears' "Transformer," a gleeful call-to-arms against the Bush regime; John Ney Rieber's "The Pit," about a Charles Bronson-type who loses it when his (robot) pit bull is stolen for a dogfight; Danijel Zezelj's lyrical "Limbo, Inc.," in which a no-hold-barred fighter beseeches the gods for a better world; and my favorite, Miles Gunter and Frank Teran's "Scalped," a perfect mix of hallucinatory art and rapid-fire violence. In the latter, a nighttime NYC of street hustlers, brawlers and vicious cops mix it up. The thuggish expressions on their grim metal skulls convey everything we need to know about their world, and ours.

 

Interior art by Alex Maleev.The NYCMech gang captures the noir mood of a modern city, where sleaze, viewed through a certain lens, becomes romantic. Aging, depressed robots, trash tumbling in the breeze, wisecracking cyborg hookers, comatose electronic drug addicts and plenty of cursing make for a compelling dystopia. "Scalped," with its suggestions that robots are a dark reflection of us, offers a glimpse of what might have made this collection even better — more meat to go with the eye candy.

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