Title: Deus Ex Human Revolution #1
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Robbie Morrison
Art: Trevor Hairsine
Colors: Jorge Gonzalez
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Cover: Jim Murray
Assist. Editing: Kristy Quinn
Editing: Ben Abernathy
Release Date: 02/02/11
Deus Ex Human Revolution is based on the Deus Ex gaming series. Set in the near future, the year 2027, the book follows Adam Jensen. Jensen is an “Aug”, someone with mechanical augmentations to his body. In fact, he is physically more machine than man. The book deals with Jensen’s story as well as the world’s reaction to a future where people can artificially evolve.
This review contains SPOILERS. To remain spoiler free skip to the final paragraph where I will give my spoiler free opinion of the book.
The opening of the book really sets the tone for the world. Immediately the art shows you this isn’t a pristine future. You can feel the grime and dirt coming off the page. You can’t ask much more from the art than for it to instantly inform you about the world you are in. Jensen is on a mission to retrieve a kidnapped girl. This lets us see just what he is capable of. He can take people down with non lethal methods, but he has no problem killing. He has quite a bag of tricks to do just that. Tasers, crossbows, guns, blades from his mechanical arms and I’m sure plenty more. The book shows you descriptions of what Jensen is seeing as if you were looking through his eyes. It helps you get into Jensen’s character as well as keeping you informed on the different equipment and people in the book.
This comic definitely doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to how violent this world can get. Jensen’s showdown with the girl’s captors gets bloody real quick. The violence isn’t really the focus of the book though. The focus of the book is the debate between those who’ve embraced or manufacture augmentations and those people who protest against it. The girl Jensen saves is a staunch advocate against “Augs” even though Jensen’s augmentations helped save her. In the second half of the book we see the argument against the augmentations we got to see in action during the opening. “Natches”, natural humans, believe human beings shouldn’t change their bodies in such dramatic ways. They want evolution to happen naturally. It’s a debate I can see happening in the real world if such augmentations were to ever really come to be. Unfortunately, in Deus Ex, the debate has gone past words for some people. Terrorist attacks from both sides have begun happening, including a pretty horrific one at the end of the book. I don’t like that, so far, the debate seems to be pretty one sided. We get to see lots of anti-augmentation arguments, but few pro-augmentation. Hopefully in later issues we will get a more balanced view.
What I enjoyed more than the bigger debate between Augs and Natches was Adam Jensen’s personal struggle with becoming an Aug. It wasn’t his choice to become an Aug. He and the people he was trying to protect were attacked by anti-Aug people. Without augmentations he would have died. He also lost someone very close to him in the attack. Jensen wishes he was completely machine after the attack. He doesn’t share his feelings about any of it. Machines don’t have to deal with pain or loss. Machines just do their job without a thought. Jensen himself says to just aim him and pull the trigger. I want to see if Jensen deals with his loss and embraces his humanity or if he will dive deeper into becoming an emotionless machine.
Deus Ex Human Revolution is a great opening to the series. There is some clunky exposition and the debate about augmentations seems one sided but that doesn’t detract much from the book. The art is dark and gritty. It is perfect for giving you the tone of the book. The action is beautifully brutal, but it doesn’t overshadow the more academic parts of the book. I am excited to see Adam Jensen’s journey and the last page makes me want to see what happens next. I definitely recommend this book.