Eden by Christopher Sebela & Marc Laming

from an idea by Alain Bismut and Abel Ferry, with colors by Lee Loughridge and letters by Troy Peteri.

The Earth of the future is overcrowded and impoverished. Crime rates are up, in no small part due to families like the Oximenkos, who will do whatever it takes to survive. Dad Gabe, Mom Morgan and teenage daughter Kali are a tight and well-trained unit, with Gabe the softer-hearted idealist to Morgan’s no-nonsense soldier. Their diverse skills serve them well when they’re raiding the houses of the rich for food and other necessities, or eluding criminal gangs bigger than their own.

When the Oximenkos learn that their neighbors have won a lottery granting them much coveted space passage to Eden, an off-world colony with few of Earth’s problems, they immediately make a plan to take the Tremaines’ places. Unfortunately, their larceny means that the system malfunctions while they’re supposed to be in cryosleep aboard the Constellation, the transport ship that ferries millions of sleeping passengers from Earth to the much richer colony, a galaxy away. What the Oximenkos discover upon waking, tho, upends everything they’ve been led to believe.

This was a gripping sci-fi graphic novel that asks hard questions about survival and provides nuanced answers through the differing lenses of both Gabe and Morgan. Morgan is utterly practical almost to the point of being emotionless, whereas Gabe desperately wants a better world for their daughter. Bright, sensitive Kali synthesizes both viewpoints: as an allegory, it’s not the most subtle, but it is highly effective.

The art is excellent at static representation of form — and don’t get me started on how much I love that Morgan is Asian and that Kali takes after her more than white Gabe — but can get confusing when the action sequences start. It’s definitely a book that merits a re-read once you’re done with the first pass, especially if you’re a fast reader like me who was so busy being carried along by the story that any confusion with the artwork seemed secondary at the time. A second pass definitely helps the pieces fit better, as some of the suspense the art intends to evoke just comes across as confusing unless you already know what’s meant to happen next.

That aside, the only real criticism I have of this book is the gaping plothole in what the Oximenkos decide to do at the end. Philosophically, I love it. But I’m genuinely surprised that no one brought up the subject of there definitely not being enough food and water for what they’re planning to do. I rather wish that had been addressed, as it really doesn’t make sense in an otherwise well-written book.

While this is a standalone graphic novel, I definitely wouldn’t mind reading more of the Oximenkos & co’s adventures. That’s a lot more than I can say about most of the books I read!

Eden by Christopher Sebela & Marc Laming was published April 9 2024 by Humanoids Inc and is available from all good booksellers, including

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2024/04/18/eden-by-christopher-sebela-marc-laming/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.