The appeal of comic books for me is the fantasy element that they evoke. Superhero’s with super powers, megalomaniac villains with visions of world domination and characters with disproportionately sized costumes are all just part of the charm. They evoke memories from my childhood … a simpler and easier time without the responsibilities that come with adulthood.
Biowars to me though is different. I’m only one book into the series and it’s not your simple good versus evil storyline … there are depths to the story that I would not have expected going into it and as surprising as it might seem you can actually learn something from this book!
We’ve all seen movies about plagues or at the least heard on the news that every new version of the flu is that one superflu that is going to wipe out the human race – right? Well Biowars takes this concept and gives it a different twist – this time you’re not just hearing about it, but we’re getting a chance to see how it gets fought on a very unique battlefield – the inside of Alexander Hawking’s body.
Now this could be a simple, sterile, technical treatise, but the art in this independent comic book is exceptional … the action/battle scenes are distinct and colorful and each of the characters not only has a clearly defined skill and ability they are also written with some recognizable characteristics.
Now I’m not stating in any way that this series will serve to replace medical textbooks for our next generation of Doctors, Nurses and Surgeons – however could it help educate a child on how the body defends itself against infection? Yes, I actually think it could … the hardest part about education is not providing the knowledge, its about delivering that knowledge in an easy to understand manner and here this book admirably succeeds.
Infection is the first book in Biowars (a free online e-comic which you can read here) and starts us off right into the action. We are quickly introduced to our main heroes and learn their characteristics and style while also getting an idea of their function within the body.
The first thing that struck me on getting through just a couple of pages is the artwork is really good – its as good as anything you’d see from Marvel, DC or any of the other comic book companies and while reading a comic book on a screen versus in your hands might have been weird a couple of years ago, with the advent of ereaders and proliferation of iPads and other tablets this too has quickly become old hat.
Fairly quickly our heroes are thrust into a battle against a horde of “evil” invaders that are spreading throughout the biocosmos spreading poison and decay along the way.
As the story progresses you can see that different defenders (cells) act in different ways and while we might consider all battles to be orderly, meaningful affairs it’s obvious that the way in which Scathe literally wades into combat that the bodies defenders believe in throwing their all into any battle and infestation that comes their way.
As the story progresses we learn that this battle while cosmic in proportion is actually really minuscule in reality taking place within the body of Alexander Hawking a regular guy attending a city college in Manhattan. Alexander has been infected by a lethal virus and this conflagration is taking place within Alex himself!
While the virus angle by itself might suffice, there is an underlying story in Biowars that is also playing out as we grow to learn over the course of time as Alex and struggles to survive.