- Posted by Johanna on December 20, 2005 at 8:47 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Paul Sizer
- PUBLISHER: Cafe' Digital Comics; $12.95 US
Moped Army portrays a near-future showdown between cars and bikes as a turning point in a young woman’s life. Although the core elements are familiar — an unhappy rich girl learns to stand up for herself — the well-thought-out setting and believable characters give the story an exciting freshness.
In the year 2277, Simone is finding herself bored with life. She’s got the right boyfriend (although Chester is really a self-centered, image-obsessed boor) and the right future mapped out for her, but none of it seems to be about her. Someone else who followed the rules and wore the right clothes and kept her mouth shut could easily take her place… and someone who was willing to do that would probably fit in better.
One night, the drunken gang they hang with leaves a party and decides to buzz the bad part of town, a rusted-out decaying part of the city’s infrastructure. They use their hovercars to hassle a group of moped riders who aren’t cowed by their flash and privilege, resulting in tragedy. The incident preys at Simone, but her idea to venture alone into the lower city isn’t a good one.
Luckily, members of the Moped Army happen to rescue her, and she’s fascinated by their vision of a different kind of life. Instead of being pressured to forget herself and her dreams, they encourage her to try different things and avoid pre-determined roles. She grows up, taking responsibility for herself and living with the ramifications of her decisions.
Sizer’s uniquely exaggerated style handles both the people and machines techno-organically, making it a perfect match for character-based science fiction. He captures crisply the inner monologue of a girl on the cusp of womanhood, struggling with decisions based on questions everyone else would rather she not ask. The casual sexism Simone faces everywhere but when she’s with the Army is uncannily realistic. (Those familiar with his previous series, Little White Mouse, won’t be surprised that he’s able to create an accurate portrait of a young woman who fights intelligently to survive.)
The lifestyle of the moped riders is awfully alluring. They value education, working to continually improve and reuse the tools they have and what they can find. They cooperate and help each other out, valuing how everyone’s individual talents contribute to the greater good. They’re a true community, gaining strength from each other instead of squabbling for status.