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What’s to Love: Our long tradition of breaking new talent—like Rafael Albuquerque (The Savage Brothers, American Vampire), Emma Rios (Hexed, Pretty Deadly), and Declan Shalvey (28 Days Later, Moon Knight)—continues with the debut of Alex Paknadel and Eric Scott Pfeiffer, two new creators whose extensive world-building in the sci-fi thriller Arcadia evokes comparisons to epics like Game of Thrones, The Matrix, and Astro City. What It Is: When 99% of humankind is wiped out by a pandemic, four billion people are “saved” by being digitized at the brink of death and uploaded into Arcadia, a utopian simulation in the cloud. But when Arcadia begins to rapidly deplete the energy resources upon which the handful of survivors in the real world (aka “The Meat”) depends, how long will The Meat be able—and willing—to help? Collects the entire eight-issue series.

210 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 3, 2016

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Alex Paknadel

146 books22 followers

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5 stars
20 (8%)
4 stars
66 (29%)
3 stars
88 (39%)
2 stars
44 (19%)
1 star
6 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 32 reviews
Profile Image for Chad.
7,686 reviews869 followers
December 4, 2018
99% of humanity has been killed by a pandemic. To "save" everyone, their consciousness was uploaded to a simulation. It's sort of like the Matrix except everyone is aware they are in a simulation. This is where things started to fall apart for me. If everyone is aware that this isn't "real", what's the point of existence? If I can just change the code and change the rules of the game to say fly, then so can everyone else. So what's the point of trying to live your previous life if their are no repercussions? Why should I go to school when I can just upload the knowledge directly into my brain? This was incredibly dense. The concepts weren't explained very well nor the world building fleshed out enough. It was ultimately just dull.
Profile Image for Lukasz.
1,309 reviews209 followers
February 10, 2021

Whew. It was...complex. Was it also fun? Mostly. Except when it was confusing.

I’m all for innovation and technological literacy, but the tech is also dangerous. For some, it fills the place of religion. Arcadia offers a fascinating look at virtual reality through the lens of family drama.

I loved the art and the use of dark coloring to instill the sense of foreboding. Well worth a read.
Profile Image for Jason Pettus.
Author 18 books1,279 followers
February 4, 2017
The Chicago Public Library recently established a partnership with online content sharing service Hoopla, which among other things means I suddenly have access to several thousand old comics I've never read before, including most of the back catalog of Dark Horse, Top Shelf and Boom! Studios. This is the third graphic novel I've now read through Hoopla, mostly because I was attracted to its "self-aware Matrix" concept: that in the future, a mysterious new virus wipes out 99 percent of the human race, and in desperation all their minds are "uploaded" into a vastly complicated new version of the internet that was being developed at the time, the 1 percent of "meat-based" humans who are left now in charge of maintaining the city-sized server farms around the planet that house the other "virtual" 99 percent, all of whom are supposedly continuing to work on finding a cure to the virus. Our story, then, opens on a time of mounting conflict between these two groups -- the energy needed to keep the virtual population "alive" is starting to drain more and more resources from the Meat, while the citizens of the virtual Arcadia are starting to grouse more and more about wanting root access to their own source code, currently held by the 1-percenters and able to be switched off at any time.

Unfortunately, though, the execution of this concept is only mediocre, for a variety of reasons: the story itself is doled out in this way that makes it complicated to follow along; adding to this confusion is the so-so artwork, in which not only do too many people look like each other, but even single characters don't look consistently like themselves from one page to the next; too many of the characters are dumbed down to this Joss Whedon, 14-year-old Young Adult level; and perhaps most damningly, I had fundamental questions about the storyline's very concept as I was reading through the book, which kept yanking me out of the story's enjoyment because I kept spending too much time wondering why they weren't addressing my very simplistic questions. (If the entire reason the wiped-out population is being kept virtually alive is so they can come up with a cure to the virus, why do you need all four billion of them? If the biological Earth can no longer maintain the resources to keep all four billion of them and their ridiculously detailed simulacrum of the entire planet running, why not simply shut all of them down except for the scientists actively working on the cure, and house all of them in one virtual city that doesn't need an entire planet's worth of computing resources to render?)

Granted, not all novels should be dismissed just because a reader has a few nagging questions about the novel's concept; but in this case, these questions seemed so self-evident, and were such at the heart of the book's main conflict, that it kept pulling out me out of the act of enjoying it every time the conflict would arise, and they failed once again to address what seemed like the most logical and simple solution to their problem. Combined with the other problems just mentioned, this was enough to make this a more frustrating than enjoyable read, still worth checking out if you're a hardcore sci-fi comics fan but easily skippable if you're not.
Profile Image for Tom LA.
595 reviews223 followers
November 29, 2019
I know it’s difficult to write intelligent comic books - that’s why I appreciate this effort immensely. But unfortunately I have to say that this book didn’t work for me.

Art: the characters! What happened to those expressions? 9 out of 10 faces are uneven or misshapen. With those faces, the story already loses most of its potential. I can only say that I’ve been interviewing many artists for comic books projects before, and I would never hire this one. Faces and expressions are - arguably - the most important feature in a comic book. And I say this knowing that this is purely and only MY own taste speaking here. I’m trying to convey my personal experience of this art.

As for the writing, I read everything slowly and carefully, because I read other reviewers saying “it was confusing” and I thought “Maybe they should have paid more attention.” But sadly I did find the book messy, and partially that’s also because of the writing: a couple of times I had no idea of who was who. The location titles help, but I think the authors needed to come up with something else to articulate more clearly when we are in the virtual world vs. in reality (maybe with styles or colors? Or anything else.). And that’s not only “to understand the plot”, but also to make the reading experience overall more visually satisfying.

In any case, as I said, I found the drawings off-putting, and I felt like I wanted to put down the book because of them. Messy art. I know it’s a harsh judgement but this is my entirely subjective take. A book review should be completely honest.
Profile Image for Václav.
976 reviews42 followers
March 9, 2019
The epidemic of papillomavirus hits humanity hard. Billions died, and the only hope was to move as many people to the virtual reality - Arcadia, where the finest of them are working on the ultimate cure. The comics have it all, the doomed humankind, the "matrix", the governor of it who went to god complex and "fight the meats", chosen ones, the cold crazy suicide cult leader, network of collaborating and sabotages, politic games. It looks too good to be true. And it is. Damn, this is both so intriguing and chaotic. I had serious issues to grasp to where I am, who are those characters and what is their individual agendas are. This feeling got thinner as I got through the book, but it never disappeared. No. The confusion is just too imminent. And together with rather mediocre art, it diminishes the reading experience just too much to "suck it up". And that's sad because it could be really good. But it suffers from poor writing and that shows how the process of transferring the idea to the script is far from easy and you can screw up the good idea, or pump up the mediocre one. The case of Arcadia is the first one.
Profile Image for Paul.
360 reviews1 follower
December 26, 2016
Is a digital escape from a viral pandemic a salvation for humanity or a trap? What obligations does altruistic salvation demand from individuals? These are questions raised in Arcadia the debut graphic novel from Alex Paknadel and Eric Scott Pfeiffer.

This is more than simple comic book speculative fiction. Arcadia is an opening of ideas and images for exploration, examination and, hopefully, assimilation. The promise of communicating fresh ideas through words and pictures moves forward with this work. The plot is rock solid, the themes engaging and the visuals hold you in the story. Read this comic, er, graphic novel and enjoy.
Profile Image for Fred.
481 reviews7 followers
May 15, 2016
The premise had potential. The story telling got a little convoluted in about chapter 7. The art did the story no favors. It was difficult to tell some characters apart (or to notice they were alike), and did not always help tell the story.
Profile Image for Savi.
126 reviews22 followers
May 29, 2019
I've always been fascinated by stories that deal with humanity's survival beyond the death of the physical body. I went into the story with high hopes but found it confusing at many points. The constant shift in scenes and character perspectives without enough background made it a bit difficult to understand what was going on at the start. Things did get clearer as it went on but it never really achieved what it initially set out to accomplish. Great concept but a somewhat lackluster execution.
Profile Image for Robert.
342 reviews
January 17, 2017
I've been taking advantage of the DC Public Library's vast collection of comics and graphic novels -- thus, I came across this series with a blurb on the cover from IGN: "The Matrix, but better." I'm not so sure about that, though there's plenty of intriguing ideas and fun sci-fi universe-building. The story can be difficult to follow at times, not helped by an overflow of characters and difficult-to-decipher art. Still, I'm glad I read it. It's ambitious, creative stuff.
Profile Image for Brownguy.
203 reviews9 followers
November 13, 2016
The art was really good but the story was mostly post-apocalyptic and less about the philosophical ramifications of the idea than I had hoped.
Profile Image for Brendan.
1,197 reviews55 followers
April 19, 2020

Arcadia was a random purchase for me. The premise and the promise of a book in the style of the matrix had me sold. The book has a more critical reception on comicbook round-up compared to Goodreads. The book is not a quick read and has more depth compared to the newer comics. The author has created something thought provoking and very different. Boom Studios is proving to be a very good comic book company.

Why the 4?

The ending doesn't deliver on the overall storyline arc. This was better when the book was about the discovery and the struggle with the real world and artificial. I liked the book and thought it has enough style and substance to recommend the book. I'm finding that reviews on here for graphic novels aren't the best guide. If I had checked this before reading this, I may not have read this book.
Profile Image for Aneez.
111 reviews
November 9, 2017
Arcadia has an interesting take on the digital salvation of the human race, while taking into account the political and physical limitations. Unfortunately, this graphic novel is executed poorly. The artwork is decent, though the dark bearded characters and day-of-the-dead inspired motifs get tiresome quickly. What was most disappointing was the narrative chaos under which the story was delivered. Nothing is made clear unit the end when the plot is hammered in 4 times, and the book is at times hard to follow.
Profile Image for Ryan Mishap.
3,354 reviews60 followers
October 22, 2016
Normally I dislike stories set in virtual worlds, but this ambitious eight issue series was intriguing, if a little hard to follow (similar looking characters, dark art, sudden segues). A clever, gritty, smart post-apocalyptic science fiction treat. Check it out.
166 reviews3 followers
December 18, 2017
Fantastic concept and eerily realistic world-building raises the question of what would happen if most of humanity was uploaded to cyberspace. The execution was a bit confusing - some characters looked too similar, and the storyline got fuzzy near the end.
Profile Image for Kris.
52 reviews9 followers
October 12, 2017
original concept, made me think of the great san junipero episode of black mirror but .. gets a bit confusing and unclear at the end.
Profile Image for Andrew Welch.
13 reviews
December 19, 2017
A little hard to follow at times, especially in the beginning, but it became more compelling with each chapter.
Profile Image for Charlie Easterson.
354 reviews2 followers
March 14, 2018
I wanted to love it; it had fabulous concepts and a basically interesting story but it was extremely hard to follow at times and little too disorganized for how complex it tried to be.
Profile Image for Natira.
587 reviews20 followers
October 2, 2019
interessant, aber für meinen Geschmack unausgewogen innder Erzählweise/Struktur
Profile Image for Márcio Moreira.
Author 3 books7 followers
May 13, 2020
uma ideia incrível com as fundações de uma boa história. pena que a execução não deu conta. vale a leitura mesmo assim, tem muito a se aproveitar. eu veria a minissérie fácil.
Profile Image for CBerry.
22 reviews
June 29, 2018
This graphic novel is just okay.

The art is really good but so inconsistent. Some characters look different from page to page. Multiple times I thought to myself: “Wait, who’s that?” Then I realized after looking at the clothing the character wore (and unique hair color) who in the world it was. It really broke up the enjoyment of the story.

Speaking of the story, it wasn’t at all what I expected. Based on the synopsis, I thought the story would be more about how we (earth) were fighting to go back to the real world instead of living in the virtual reality system. It wasn’t though. Much less interesting if you ask me.

There was so much going on and I couldn’t care less about the characters. I felt like it was a chore just to finish the story. And even though it was a graphic novel, it took forever for me to read because I just didn’t enjoy it. I’m thinking maybe graphic novels aren’t for me.
Profile Image for Ferio.
613 reviews
July 13, 2020
El dibujo me ha parecido poco detallista y confuso a veces, hay primeros planos en los que no se sabe quién habla sin que esté justificado por el guion; sencillamente, varios personajes podrían identificarse con la imagen porque es muy genérica.

Y la historia es cyberpunk y muy guay, pero le falta desarrollo y profundidad de personajes. Hay aspectos que se resuelven mediante Deus ex machina y no terminas de empatizar con nadie, ni para bien ni para mal. No sé si les faltó tiempo, pero probablemente sí edición.
Profile Image for MrsEnginerd.
327 reviews2 followers
June 6, 2016
One of the reviews said it was like The Matrix but the twists and narrative attempt to make it so much more than just a sci fi romp; it also serves as a critique on current politics and the power struggles between the haves and the have nots. You won't be disappointed by the artwork though. Worth giving it a chance.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 32 reviews

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