Book Reviews

Graphic Novel Review: I.D. by Emma Ríos

I.D. by Emma Ríos
Series: Standalone
Genre: Graphic Novel | Science Fiction
Length: 80 pages
Published on 28th June 2016 by Image Comics
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Waterstones | WHSmith
Emma Ríos: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog
Purchased for myself from Waterstones

A dystopian tale that analyzes the conflict between perception and identity through the struggle of three people who consider a ‘body transplant’ as a solution to their lives.

I’m not going to lie it was the cover that made me pick this up to see its synopsis because it looked so intricate and something different with it all being drawing in pink.

With the mention of “body transplants” in the synopsis it reminded me of the Uglies series I read a few years ago and thought it would be interesting to see another persons take on a similar kind of process and as it was clearly science fiction I knew I’d enjoy it.

& enjoy it I did but it wont be my favourite read of the year.

As for the art style (images of inside pages have been included at the bottom) I liked it but it was as intricate as the cover. But it was nice to see the use of only pinks as it made you focus a lot more on what was illustrated, whilst also making it feel unique. I’m sure something like this has been done before but most graphic novels I’ve read are in full colour.

For the story itself the world building was lacking – its probably set on Earth or somewhere similar to it but with far advanced science and technology (mentions of a mine off world, closed off areas due to terraforming incomplete, and y’know the whole body transplant thing). But other than that nothing indicates that its society is far different from ours.

Though I also don’t see the lack of world building a bad thing given this graphic novel isn’t part of a series so for 80 pages in length I’m happy we got even a small glimpse whilst it focused on telling its story.

The character building was better, which is expected given this is a character focused story. There are 3 main characters all of whom are meeting after signing up for an experimental medical procedure where they will have a body transplant – their brain put into a new body, whilst their old is destroyed.

We’re shown flashbacks of them at the meeting where the procedure is explained and whilst this isn’t something that could be achieved currently you can tell the author has gone to great lengths to make it seem like it is possible in her science fiction world.

But the current timeline is of the three of them meeting afterwards in a coffee shop to talk things through with each other, to make sure they’re all happy with their decision to go through with it. here is an old lady, a writer, and older man, an ex-convict, and a young trans-male who doesn’t want to me trapped in a female body any longer.

The story itself was mostly just focusing on these characters adjusting to the idea that they were going to have new bodies, new lives (if they survived the process). You don’t actually see the process or the things they have to go through in rehab to adjust to having a new body which’d probably made it sit even more at home in the science fiction section.

But we do get a tiny look at them after as they thank the others for helping them through it and looking for continued support in their lives. I liked this part as it just felt really nice to have characters that genuinely cared about one and another and knowing they’d have someone to turn too whilst they continued to adjust to life.

So as you can see from what I’ve written it had good aspects but also aspects missing in some areas so that is why it wont be a favourite read of mine but it was an interesting topic to tackle.

After the graphic novel there is a dissertation of sorts explaining how this process isn’t something we could do today and goes in depth to discuss all the areas that would have to be considered and overcome should it ever be done. It was very scientific and I’m not that great with actual science so some of it was lost on me but it was a nice addition as it illustrated they had really thought it through.

It also left me concerned whether it could be viewed as problematic the way TFIOS is – a real problem with a fake cure/solution – so I wasn’t sure how to tackle this part of the review. At the end of the day I’m coming at this as someone who isn’t trans but didn’t want to be ignorant and not address the fact others may perceive it as harmful.

I’ve discussed it with a few people and they mostly felt that the inclusion of a trans person was a good thing because in a science fiction setting such as this it wouldn’t be unlikely they’d opt for the chance of a new body and it was good the story didn’t just focus on characters who wanted to look better for vanity reasons.

“Part of world building in stories like that is considering how everyone will be affects. I think its very plausible that if this were something that was possible there would be trans people doing it.”

However I am open to more discussion on this topic and at the end of the day will listen to how a trans person views it over anyone else. If my concerns were wrong/right please let me know and I can adapt the review as needed to inform others, but I couldn’t post a review without a heads up in case someone did pick it up and felt I’d portrayed the safety of the story incorrectly.

3.5 stars / 5 stars

As this is a standalone graphic novel I’ll share some of the pages that were posted on Image Comics website.

2 thoughts on “Graphic Novel Review: I.D. by Emma Ríos”

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