Negalyod The God Network by Vincent Perriot, Florence Breton, Montana Kan and Lauren Bowes
Titan Comics, hb, £27.59
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Negalyod is a post-apocalyptic dystopia where humans live in mega-cities and are monitored by the Network. The city, Station 3703, is divided with most of the population crammed into the lower city, while the elite lives above them, literally, in a part of the city accessed only by stairs or ship. When Jarri arrives seeking compensation for his herd that was killed by the city’s soldiers, his knowledge of the deserts and ability to interpret the dinosaurs’ calls gives the rebellion against the Network the upper hand. But the Network is more than Jarri first believed and destroying it could do more harm than good.
Negalyod has an interesting premise albeit one we’ve seen before; the future is not a technological utopia with freedom for all. Paradise will always be built on the backs of others’ hard labour, and this has created a rebellion against the Network’s rule. However, certain elements could have been explored further such as Jarri or the Network’s motivation. However, the comic is light on dialogue, which is good in some respects, the art and colouring convey a sense of space and contemplation but leaves a lot to interpretation. Anyone wanting clear messages may be disappointed, but the limited dialogue fitted with the story’s overall feel.
Colour is used to good effect in creating the setting. In the desert, a red, orange and yellow palette is used for the landscape, but this and the sky changes colour as the day progresses reflecting the natural world. The upper half of Station 3703 has a real sky too and everything except the people is depicted in shades of light blue and turquoise. Whereas the lower half of Station 3703 is somewhere between the two and so combines the two palettes. This means when there is a change, such as on page 112-115 when a robot takes a human rebel to the Network through a lush jungle, we pay more attention to the colour changes implications.
The artwork is also outstanding. It is detailed without being too busy, and the background never detracts from the panel’s focus. One of my favourite panels is near the beginning when Jarri has to camp in the rain surrounded by his dead herd. We can clearly see he’s fashioned a tent between the head horns of two carcasses and he has a small fire. The rest of the herd have pterodactyls feeding off them and the rain appears heavy, but Jarri and his little fire, the sole survivor, are our focus. It’s a poignant panel and sets the standard for the rest of the comic.
While I feel certain themes and motivations could have been explored further, the art and colouring made up for any plot shortcomings, meaning Negalyod: The God Network is an enjoyable, beautiful read about loss and becoming closer to nature.