Cold Cut Distribution's Feature Spotlight #23 - April 1997
Publisher: Amaze Ink (an imprint of Slave Labor Graphics)
Writer: Ian Carney
Artist: Garry Marshall
Cover Price: $2.95
In a near-future Britain where virtual reality has become virtually real,
only the rich and powerful can afford to own their own "unreal
estate": private little pockets of cyberspace carved out in their own image,
where they can go to relax, to experiment, or to act out some of the
less-presentable urges they may feel.
Button Smith is a typical teenage
girl, rebellious and rude, living life day-to-day with a drab middle class
family. Well, perhaps she's not all that typical; her epilepsy allows her
to do something practically unheard of: she can gatecrash private unreal
estates. Being fourteen, she naturally takes on a cyberspace psuedo-body
and becomes the soon-to-be-famous virtual reality terrorist/hacker Axis
Mundi. But with a growing reputation as the one terrorist no one can catch,
Axis finds him/herself in some strange situations -- like finding that the
young teen punks running around actually idolize Mundi to the point of
stupefaction, or like meeting the guy (or is it a guy?) who practically
invented unreal estate years ago. So what's a famous teenage girl virtual
hacker terrorist to do?
Bitingly written and full of British slang, Axis Mundi is not for the faint
of heart. But those willing to persevere through the occasionally-heavy
accent will find a brilliantly fast-paced deviant storyline with wonderful
peeks at a cyberpunk near-future which is frighteningly recognizable in the
seeds being sown today. Each issue so far has been chock full of plot,
almost disdaining characterization entirely (but not quite) in favor of
rushing us to fireball climaxes worthy of Milk & Cheese (Destroy!
Destroy!). And it's hard to argue with a book that leaves you out of
breath, teetering on the brink of... the next issue!
An energetic mixture of Paul Pope and Scott McCloud, with just a
dash of Evan Dorkin thrown in; Garry's backgrounds are generally sparse but
suitable, panel layout is inventive without being unreadable, and characters
are well drawn and full of expression. With heavy inks and light on the
details, it's well-done, eye-catching art.
Axis Mundi is highly recommended for readers of the wacky but
equally vicious Ragmop, as well as readers of Paul Pope's THB. Fans of
cyberpunk should also get a kick out of AM, as will readers of Evan Dorkin's
more long-form stuff like Pirate Corps or some of his Instant Piano work.
Fans who liked the esoteric weirdness of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol or
Invisibles may want to sample this gem, too, as might those who enjoy
Marshal Law or Judge Dredd.
If you like Axis Mundi, take a look at:
Cold Cut Distribution
220 N Main St. - Salinas, CA 93901 - (831) 751-7300