From the Borg to the Cybermen, one particularly horrifying science fiction element is the idea of an ordinary human being transformed into a robotic machine. The idea is an old one, and there are many stories that involve humanity being put at risk by such monsters. But what if it had already happened? What would be the long-term effect of a cyborg community, where your human parts were replaced with robotic parts from a young age? The new comic book series Archaeologists of Shadows, created by Lara Fuentes and Patricio Clarey, explores the danger and excitement of a world dominated by cyber technology and mechanics. Upon opening the covers of the first (beautifully drawn) book, we find ourselves in another universe, a universe where people are turning more mechanical everyday If you don’t voluntarily replace your humanity with a machine, you will be taken to Saint Peter’s and turned into a robot by force.
Alix and Baltimo are two friends who will do anything to escape this fate. Throwing caution to the wind and taking the biggest risk of their lives, they escape the train that they were born on to enter the outdoors. They become wanted criminals in a land filled with spies and informers. Their semi-humanity is enough to give them away at any point.
One of the best features of this story is the way the plot builds. As a completely different storyline reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, there is no way to know where things are going. It is exciting from page one, but keeps getting more interesting as more features of this strange universe are revealed. Just as soon as you think you’re nearing the climax, it is revealed that the story has really only begun.
Another delightful feature of Archaeologists is the artwork. Artist Patricio Clarey skillfully blends photography, sculptures, and advanced computer graphics to make every panel beautiful, detailed, and unique. The characters especially are haunting to look at. Their odd bits of humanity cling to them like rags, contrasting horrifically with the metallic robotic parts that are replacing them. The fate is inevitable, and it’s up to the dwindling number of the Archaeologists of Shadows to protect what’s left of humanity, all while keeping an eye out for the legendary alter egos, the only people who will be able to communicate with the gods.
Archaeologists of Shadows can be found online in many places, and is also available on its site. It is an amazing read, and definitely worth a look if you want something creepy, bizarre, and unlike anything you have ever read before.