Graphic Novel Review – Retina

A Futuristic Detective Story in an Awesome Graphic Novel

Cover to Retina. Depicts three of the main characters from the story.
Cover for Retina. Graphic novel cover by Philippe Scoffoni.

Where to buy/pre-order this graphic novel:

Credits:

  • Benoît Rivière – Writer
  • Philippe Scoffoni – Artist
  • Mark Bence – Translator
  • Rob Levin – US Edition Editor
  • Amanda Lucido – Assistant Editor
  • Elisabeth Haroche – Original Edition Editor
  • Jerry Frissen – Senior Art Director
  • Fabrice Giger – Publisher

Disclaimer: Humanoids were gracious enough to provide an advance review copy of Retina for the purpose of this review. I will always be honest with my reviews and am under no obligation to leave a positive review. All words in this review are my own. Also, because this title has yet to be released, you can consider this entire review to be a spoiler-free zone.

Retina was originally published in French and under the title, "Milo". Milo is the name of one of the main characters of the story, so that makes sense. I’m not sure why they changed the name of the book during localization but "Retina" works just as well. The graphic novel takes place in the year 2050. The setting is Los Angeles. Milo is a detective or "criminagent" working for the LAPD. He happens to see a woman murdered out in the open in broad daylight. This sets him on a journey that includes conspiracy, more death, narcotics, and lost love.

The artwork in this book reminds me of the architectural designs of Katsuhiro Otomo. Otomo created Akira, which is a manga. Retina isn’t a manga, so I understand if the comparison is a hard sell. The characters in Retina aren’t manga-like in any way, but I couldn’t help but think of Otomo’s work when viewing the detailed structures. It really helps draw the reader into an immersive experience. I felt like I was there, watching the action and drama unfold before my very eyes.

Although the story takes place in the future, they didn’t go all-out in making it too futuristic. We get to see the use of VR and holograms, but guns are still just guns. Cars look slightly futuristic but in essence are just cars. It was a smart decision to keep the setting grounded in reality. It will help prevent the book from feeling dated in the long run.

Retina is for mature readers. There isn’t any nudity but there is sex. There is plenty of violence and death, including domestic violence. Also it takes a turn into the narcotics trade, which could be a trigger. As long as you are mature enough to handle stuff like that, this graphic novel could very much be for you. I enjoyed it fully. From the art style to the story, I really have nothing bad to say about this one. Maybe if I read it again I will find imperfections here and there, but on first read it was near-perfect. Get this graphic novel in your hands as soon as it’s released in early March, 2020!

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