Updated on 16 October, 2021
The latest book from acclaimed creator Todd Phillips is Utopia. Once a small village under threat of darkness and destruction, the people are forced to band together to form the last defense against their enemies. Led by a strong, determined leader known as Motherless Child (Robin Wright), this ragtag band of survivors sets out on a daring and final mission against the evil that has corrupted their world. Once they succeed in toppling their new enemy, they discover that they have more in common than they first thought. This is a premise you're unlikely to find in any other comic book series-one where the characters aren't always angels or demons battling for good.
In the tradition of classic superhero tales, Utopia comics take place in modern times, or in the future of some alternate dimension. The premise behind the story is a new utopia created when people band together to help each other, rather than hurt each other with violence. The way it works is rather simple, yet surprisingly effective at maintaining the core elements that make up any kind of comic book hero's journey. For example, most comic book stories involving super heroes go into battle with each other. Whether battling supervillains, alien invaders, or ordinary criminals, each hero must overcome a variety of psychological and physical barriers to win. In contrast, though, the way in which Utopia Comics' main character, Motherless Child, deals with fear and anxiety is much different from how most comic book readers are used to following their favorite characters.
One of the biggest strengths of Utopia is its ability to build tension without the traditional, drawn-out fights and intense emotions that are so common in today's comics. After all, one of the primary appeals of superheroes is their ability to fight villains head-on without taking the time to build a elaborate and convincing plot. With the help of his newly-reborn, human-like pet, Motherless Child, Phillips manages to create tension throughout the book, all while simultaneously building toward one huge, climactic conflict.
In modern comic books, the overwhelming majority of comic book stories involve the protagonist battling against some sort of seemingly impossible threat. Motherless Child is not one of these stories, and that's what makes it a unique comic book in the modern era. While superheroes may seem unstoppable on the surface, Uopia focuses much of its attention on the psychological weaknesses of these highly-trained fighters. The result is a unique comic book story that explores the psychology behind superheroes and what makes them tick.
Phillips has a great way of building tension throughout his story. Early in the book, after the main villain captures the center of attention, a pair of guards at the zoo capture Motherless Child. She is then taken into hiding and placed in the care of a wealthy family. This emotionally charged moment drives the entire book, as readers struggle to imagine what could happen if their favorite comic book hero were placed in the same situation.
In the final part of the second chapter, called "The Day the Earth Stood Still," Uopia finally reveals the identity of her captivating villain. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that Motherless Child had been hiding her real identity for years, all the while trying to convince her father that she would be better off if he gave up her superpowers. Once her real identity is revealed, she engages the hero in a mental battle. It is here, in this battle, that Uopia's perspective of her mother is revealed. She comes to realize that while she has always known her real identity, she has never cared about her feelings. It is through the actions of her mother that Uopia realizes that she can't let go of her desire to be a superhero, and in order to do so she must make peace with her past.
Phillips also provides a couple of other positive elements to his comic book universe. As the story progresses, Uopia's dad is slowly revealing his secrets to her, and though she initially resists his advances, Uopia is able to eventually overcome her fear and trust him. In addition, Uopia's father is a strong advocate for taking interest in super heroes, which he strongly recommends that Uopia join after she has successfully completed her training. As many female readers will identify, Phillips's female characters are more than just beautiful; they are strong, resilient, and capable human beings with great attitudes. These traits are often missing from comic book portrayals of women in super hero roles.
Overall, Uopia Comics is a good read for those interested in superheroes, fantasy, and the written word. It contains very strong plot lines and unique characters that make it stand out from other comics on the market today. Uopia is definitely worth picking up if you have never read an original graphic novel before. The graphic novel is available in stores right now, and if you want to experience Uopia without having to wait for the next issue, you can purchase the first few chapters online for free! Alternatively, if you prefer to purchase comics that are already complete, you should pick up the collected editions of Uopia and other titles by Ed Brasker, Kelly Sue DeGeneres, Peter Bagge, and Various. In either case, readers can be assured that Uopia is well worth reading, and it will make a perfect holiday gift.