Friday, December 11, 2020

Review of "Elephantmen! #79," comic by Richard Starkings

 Review of

Elephantmen! #79, comic by Richard Starkings

Dark sf premise, science at its most brutish

 The premise of this comic is very dark. Biological science has developed to the point where it is possible to create transgenic mammalian organisms. However, once the embryos are created, human females are impregnated with them. The story opens with what appears to be a hippopotamus/human sitting down in front of a human male scientist. The name of the transgenic is Seven-A and he was the first transgenic that survived to be born. His mother died during the procedure and the scientist is one of the most cynical characters ever to appear in an sf setting. He states, “Thousands of women gave birth to my creations. None of those women survived. They were no longer necessary.”

 The transgenics were carefully controlled and programmed to do what was expected of them. Elephantmen is the generic term used to refer to them. A tiny machine was injected into them that suppressed and exaggerated their emotions to make them more effective and controllable. They were designed to be super soldiers, possessing the power of their animal side. Along with the hippo, there is the elephant, rhinoceros, giraffe and crocodile, among others.

 The story is very philosophical in tone, the scientist offers not even the slightest apologies for the death and destruction that his creations needed to be born and what they did in their “careers.” Seven-A is seeking answers of some form, for he is now more human than animal. He closes by saying, “It must have been a dark time that allowed a man like you to come into being.”  

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