The plot thickens this week in Arcadia #2 and things have gotten slightly muddled. There’s just so much going on. With the world overrun by a papilloma virus and billions of people’s minds have been uploaded into a virtual world: Arcadia. In the Meat – which is the name used for the “real” world – there is just a mere fraction of Earth’s former population left. So there are two interweaving plots to follow within this book.
The second issue explores more of the ins and outs of everyday life in Arcadia; including some no-nos. It is illegal to create beings there, for instance, but of course people do it anyway. Even the people who enforce the laws. These Arcadia-created beings are called Homesteaders, and one of them has turned up dead. That wouldn’t be unusual if not for, up until this moment, Arcadians being immortal. The higher ups of Arcadia believe this is an attack from the Meat and it becomes clear things are going to start getting heated for citizens of both worlds.
Its obvious writer Alex Paknadel has a lot of complicated and interesting ideas. The problem is that they are all coming down the chute at once and the plot can get a little heavy. However, what Paknadel does best is make the science accessible. Comics dealing with physics can always be a little daunting, leaving you scrambling for Google. Paknadel shows what is happening without getting too deep into theories and terms. There is no need for “previous knowledge” as with Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez’s Federal Bureau of Physics.
Arcadia #2 is also done a great service by its artist, Eric Scott Pfeiffer. Dealing with two worlds can sometimes be hard on a reader, but with Pfeiffer the distinction between Arcadia and the Meat is very clear. The colors and tone shift and it’s easy to tell which zone the characters are inhabiting even before you are informed by the notation. Arcadia‘s characters are often the main focus in a scene and there is something of Vertigo’s American Virgin in their thick lines and angular facial features. Overall, the art is great even if it comes off a bit rushed at times.
Arcadia is good, though not necessarily spectacular – yet. It has in its first few issues the promise of something great; there is enough substance here to entice a purchase and it’s definitely worth reading if you have a couple of extra bucks. If you can’t spare the money on singles, Arcadia will likely be a great read in trade.