Review: I Breathed A Body #2, Iron Masks And Iron Stomachs
by Cesareo Garasa
I Breathed a Body #2 hits the ground running with a relentless, creepy, bloody commentary on influencer culture and an accurate portrayal of the incongruous reactions found on social media where it seems even reality is inverted and the bottom line is God. Or, maybe the opposite.
A science fiction horror series about social media, big tech and influencer culture.
As the world reels from the most depraved livestream ever put online, Anne and her co-workers lean into the violence. Horrific appetites are revealed, death is made into spectacle, and the world changes in an instant. Step behind the curtain of online outrage to see the people pulling the strings. Become those who push the limits of what’s acceptable, deny responsibility and make billions in the process.
Where I Breathed a Body #1 was steeped in mood and dread, I Breathed a Body #2 goes full turbo.
After the apparent death of enfant terrible Mylo Caliban at the end of issue #1, his social media manager, Anne and her editor Dalton are tasked by Mylo’s father, Bramwell — their boss and the head of the MyCena Corporation — to …well, let’s just say to get their hands bloody.
And man, does the blood flow — literally. Interspersed between the action throughout the book are various mysterious frames. Sometimes it’s a flower that looks a cross between a honeycomb and a lotus, other times it’s a man in an iron mask — both of which whisper cryptic words — and other times it’s a bulbous growth of vegetation (I think?) that resembles bubbling tumors. It’s all grisly and very unsettling and all part of this gooey world that teeters on the brink between hell and the internet.
And that is the issue’s most accurate representation in the real-time cacophony that accompanies internet posts especially on social media. Here, Mylo’s death and subsequent ghoulish online displays are treated with scorn, adoration, skepticism, disgust, awe, and even acclaim. All the while, MyCena’s stock grows upward. The power of influencer culture here isn’t as repulsive as the machinations and manipulations surrounding it, as is the thought that this grotesque exaggeration isn’t that far off from what it’s commenting on in real life.
What is this world, the world of Mylo Caliban, getting itself into? Well, the honeycomb lotus and masked man aren’t the only ones making cryptic statements here. The issue starts off with a curious, undefined intro featuring some mystery characters (or are they?). Is it the past? The present? The future? What’s happening? Who are these characters and what the hell happened to the corpse? It’s that disorientation and the sanguine revelry throughout I Breathed a Body that highlights and the gruesome and the detached.
Writer Zac Thompson and artist Andy MacDonald have created quite the world here (with a short chase through a huge, sterile mansion that reminds me of the Clive Barker short story, Down, Satan!) but it’s the nuanced color work by Triona Farrell that continues to be this title’s secret weapon. The story is illuminated in muted, rosy reds and purples, light, dim greens and icy blues. The effect is so hazy and dreamlike that when a figure appears in all-white, the absence of color is startling. Farrell’s work throughout both issues gives MacDonald’s artwork here a lot of its hallucinatory power.
I Breathed a Body #1 started with a Faustian bargain. Issue #2 looks to expand that deal’s terms– or maybe pay it off? We’ll see. Based on the latter issue’s final frame? There’s going to be hell to pay.
I Breathed A Body #2, released Feb. 24 from Aftershock Comics. Written by Zac Thompson, art by Andy MacDonald, colors by Triona Farrell, lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, covers by Andy MacDonald and Triona Farrell, logo design by Tom Muller, edited by Mike Marts.