Friendo #2 catches up with Leo some time after the electrifying events of the first issue, and he’s still not in a good way. Sure his body might’ve recovered from the attack, but his brain hasn’t. Leo’s on a dangerous spiral as he struggles to ascertain the difference between reality and the enticing (but toxic) cyber-friendship that his A.I. Jerry is offering.
If the first issue was the set-up, Friendo #2 is the descent into madness. And in the opening, the art from Martin Simmonds, Dee Cunniffe and Taylor Esposito is mind-bogglingly weird. It quite literally peels back the psychological layers of the story, showing that Leo’s humanity is slowly becoming a thinly veiled way for Jerry to live vicariously through him. It’s a startling beginning that might initially throw off some readers. Luckily, Leo’s girlfriend handily explains what’s happened during the time since he’s been in hospital with a few sarcastic lines of exposition. Usually, time-gap-filling explanations can feel clunky and irritating, but Alex Paknadel handles it with ease.
IT’S A DEVILISHLY ENTERTAINING SOCIAL COMMENTARY ON HUMANITY’S NEED TO SHOP, SPEND AND CONSUME.
Another striking detail is the way Jerry populates the page as the story progresses. Sometimes he’s strolling next to Leo or appearing in front of his eyes – or he’s crawling along the wall like a digital spider, slowly infecting everything he touches. It’s very easy to apply metaphors to Jerry; with the literal narrative discussing consumerism and the carefree nature of billion-dollar companies. It’s a devilishly entertaining social commentary on humanity’s need to shop, spend and consume no matter the consequences.
While Jerry may have started out as a pair of handy A.I. glasses, he’s evolved into something a little more wicked after that electric jolt. It becomes clear in Friendo #2 just how powerful he can be in a world that revolves around smart technology. He’s a wicked individual that Leo just can’t quit. Their friendship may have been tentative to begin with, but by the last page, our disenchanted hero is a full-blown addict. And given the cliffhanger that the issue is left on, It’s likely only going to get a lot worse before it gets better. That is, if it gets better at all. Jerry’s ability to sink his sinister digital claws into the technology around him could quickly turn into a life-threatening problem for Leo.
While the story occasionally feels a little disjointed at times, that only further puts the reader in Leo’s equally destabilised mindset. If you haven’t picked up this series yet, we’d strongly recommend it.
Friendo #2 is released on November 7. Let us know what you thought of #1 @HeroesDirect!
The trippy-but brilliant social commentary continues to push Leo down the rabbit hole in an entertaining fashion.
- Leo + Jerry