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Upgrade Soul

(Upgrade Soul #1-2)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  511 ratings  ·  120 reviews
For their 45th anniversary, Hank and Molly Nonnar decide to undergo an experimental rejuvenation procedure, but their hopes for youth are dashed when the couple is faced with the results: severely disfigured yet intellectually and physically superior duplicates of themselves. Can the original Hank and Molly coexist in the same world as their clones?

In Upgrade Soul, McDuff
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Lion Forge
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4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  511 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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Updated (Sept. 19/18) Apparently this book has now been optioned to be turned into a film. I would definitely check that out -- I think it's likely that the things I found confusing could be better explained in a film version.

Upgrade Soul has an interesting premise: an elderly couple decide to undergo an experimental treatment but it goes very wrong, leaving them disfigured and questioning whether they made the right decision.

I'm not entirely sure how to rate this book. On the one hand, the stor
David Schaafsma
A two volume science fiction story about an older couple who elect to go through a procedure to extend their lives, and of course it goes wrong, they become these weird blobby creatures, where cloning is also involved. So it's sci fi, but also a kind of futuristic horror. Of course as you get older many of the social media ads are about miracle drugs to help extend your life, live forever. And billions of dollars are spent annually on plastic surgery, skin care, and so on. Either way, some kind ...more
Upgrade Soul is a thought-provoking take on risky ‘medical’ experimenting, on being your ‘best,’ strongest self, and the search for eternal youth via some key ethical issues in a way that I haven’t seen done before. For someone who studies identity, selfhood, and the comics medium, this graphic novel was nothing short of impressive.

Molly and Hank. Manuela and Henry. Originals and clones, more different than they are alike. The aftermath of their failed procedure is interspaced with flashbacks
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
What is life? What is a soul? What is a clone?

All of these questions and more are asked in this book about a couple trying to gain another go-round on the wheel of life, by having their souls put into new bodies, that in theory, will be better, younger, and stronger than their current ones.

However, it doesn't quite work out that way.

Not only do their new bodies not grow the way they are supposed to, but their old bodies are still alive and kicking.

Very disturbing graphic novel on the nature of w
Dec 26, 2018 added it
Shelves: 2018-faves
Whew. My heart still hurts.
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Ezra Claytan Daniels is both author and illustrator of the new graphic novel, Upgrade Soul. In it, Hank and Molly decide to undergo an experimental procedure to regain their youth.

Daniels tells how this long-married couple makes such a momentous decision. He shows what kind of people they are, and also how they came to have the money to invest in such a thing. To do so, he uses both present-day images and flashbacks.

As you might imagine, the process doesn’t go quite as planned. The “medical” tea
Samantha Colwell
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is, without a doubt, the best graphic novel I've ever had the pleasure of reading. It was sharp, intelligent, horrifying and graphic. The phrase "I couldn't put it down" hardly does it justice. I'm a sucker for any media which doesn't pander to an audience; books that presume the audience is intelligent, rather than treating us like spoon to mouth consumers. Ruminating on the implications of Daniels work is going to be my favorite part of finishing the novel--the thought experiment carries ...more
Stewart Tame
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow! I had never heard of this book before, but it looked interesting, so I picked it up on a whim. I was a great deal better than I was expecting.

Hank and Molly Nonnar are an elderly couple who undergo an experimental rejuvenation procedure: Upgrade Cell. Things don't go as expected. Can the original Hank and Molly coexist with their physically and mentally superior--albeit severely disfigured--clones?

Upgrade Soul raises all sorts of interesting questions about identity, medical ethics, and wh
Melanie  (Perpetually Reading)
Daniel's graphic novel, "Upgrade Soul" uses beautiful graphics and dialogue to create an engaging story that's hard not to talk about.

This story features an elderly couple, Molly and Hank, who undergo a advanced, untested procedure to get new, younger bodies. However, they soon learn that the whole operation is not what it seems. It begs the question, if our consciousness was a collection of our thoughts, memories, and experiences, can we just "upload" them into a new body? If we do, are we who
Diane Hernandez
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Upgrade Soul is a thought-provoking new graphic novel about the nature of humanity and the dangers of technology.

Hank and Molly are rich and elderly. They decide to do an experimental medical treatment that promises to make them young and healthy again. Problems occur. Ethical questions arise. What does it mean to be human? Is it the mind or the body that defines humanity? What is the impact of the changes brought on by aging? The unexpected turns of the plot are the best part of Upgrade Soul. T
Poised somewhere between science fiction and horror, this is a terrific graphic novel about an interracial elderly couple – Molly, a research scientist, and Hank, who longs to revive his father’s comic book series featuring a black hero, Slane – who offer themselves up as benefactors and guinea pigs for an experimental procedure to upload their memories to physically improved clones. Things go awry, of course, forcing everyone involved to rethink the nature of memory and loss and consider what i ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Upgrade Soul is one of the comics that was rated best of 2018 by a couple of sources. Originally published online, this complete edition of it is well worth reading at least once. The words science fiction masterpiece come to mind, but honestly I think calling it that would be a bit of a disservice to the comic itself. The description has been overused a lot. Instead, I'll say that it is a brilliant comic. It utilizes science fiction in order to question the elements that make us unique, make u ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Note: I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

I've been trying to read more graphic novels/comics lately, because I know they contain some great stories. I just have a hard time focussing on both image and text and tend to forget the images after a while. But I keep trying, and some works make it really easy. *Upgrade Soul* by Ezra Clayton Daniels (story and art) is one of those works.

Hank and Molly Nonnar, a writer and a scientist support scientifi
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This comic pulls no punches. It's a complicated and emotional story of human scientific daring and utter folly. The lead characters are Hank and Molly Nonnar, a couple who have been married for 45 years. Molly is a doctor and researcher, and Hank is an author who writes novels about the popular sci-fi character his father invented in the 1950s. A big movie deal gives him the funds to begin investing in a ground-breaking, but under-tested, experiment: a way to rejuvenate and improve the body at t ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, scifi
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and Diamond Book Distributors. All opinions are my own. Pub Date 18th Sep 2018.

A cell rejuvenation experiment has unanticipated consequences and leaves us with quite a moral dilemma. Too be honest, the art work here was not very appealing to me, but I thought the premises of the story was really innovative and smart. Especially the different behavior of the two clones relative to their originals was very interesting along with the thoughts on ethics in r
Michelle Morrell
A tale of aging and self, science and society. And who doesn't love science gone bad?
Kayla (onthefritz)
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An older couple volunteers for an experimental procedure, one that is promised to genetically purify the body’s contaminants to produce an upgraded self, one with higher potential. This procedure isn't all it seemed to be, and unfortunately goes wrong.

My mind is simply blown. This comic is what science fiction is all about. It surprised me, made me question things, and provoked all types of emotions. This story sucked me in and had me captivated the entire time. If you like sci-fi, this is a mu
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
The central concept is thought-provoking and unsettling, and the character design for the clones is uniquely terrifying (they look like giant fetuses. it never stops being weird). But what will stick with me most about "Upgrade Soul" is the characters. There's a specificity and richness to even the minor characters that's rare in sci-fi comics. The attention to character development and the gradual building of visual motifs gives "Upgrade Soul" a slow-and-steady rhythm that's hypnotizing, until ...more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book immediately piqued my interest as its premise reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode “Number 12 Looks Just Like You”. Very early in the story there’s a scene involving the removal of bandages which I thought was similar to another TZ episode “Eye of the Beholder”. Also, one of the themes I took away from this story is very similar to the moral/theme of that particular episode. Beyond that this story quickly took the turn into weird bodily horror along the lines of David Cronenberg an ...more
Katherine Lika
Upgrade Soul is a thought-provoking and delightfully disturbing graphic novel. As someone who considers themselves a science fiction layman, I'm always on the lookout for unique premises to grab my attention. This dark story did just that, and more.

Elderly couple Hank and Molly opt to participate in an experimental treatment that promises renewed youth and health. There's no going back, but what could go wrong? Lots of things, it turns out! Upgrade Soul doesn't shy from tackling the big stuff.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I struggled to really get into this graphic novel and I feared that my reading slump would hit again but once I got past chapter 5 or so, I didn't want to put the book down! I am really fascinated about all the dilemmas that are brought up in this story and i will definitely be thinking about them for a while. I really am fascinated by how the characters and their clones interacted and how their personalities were showcased.

I definitely plan to reread this story in the future - I feel like I def
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a quick, yet important read. It follows the decision between an aging couple to clone themselves into their younger counterparts. The problem is that the cloning goes wrong. The clones do not get to the age that the couple wanted. Instead, they end up horrifically disfigured, but still with the majority of the memories of the original couple. The two sets of couples find each other and begin to interact, against the advice of the doctor. That is where this experiment takes a tragic moral ...more
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Found this in a "best of 2018" list and while there's some interesting stuff here, it's ultimately rather dull. An older married couple agree to undergo an experimental procedure that is supposed to create younger, more perfect clone versions of themselves, but which goes horribly wrong, resulting in blobby, potato-looking giant fetuses. Eventually, these new selves do develop expanded mental and physical capabilities, but it seems like there's some sort of inextricable connection between the cl ...more
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn, ebook, arc
Bizarre in an existential crisis sort of way. I love the concept, the main characters (Both Hank and Molly and Henry and Manuela) are incredibly complex and well developed, as it were. The only drawback was the nonlinear timeline-- the frequent flashbacks to different points in time were a bit confusing, and sometimes jarring. I think I would have been completely lost if I had read this across more than two sittings. The art is excellent, and fits the mood and narrative very well. It's all incre ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A deep, dark book.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
Awful and incredibly overrated. It reminded me A LOT of "Black Hole", another gn I really really hate...
Mary Shyne
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Believe the hype
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Utterly stunning and horrifyingly beautiful.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Sadly, what was heralded as one of the best graphic novels of the year, comes off to be as an above average sci-fi novel or episode of the Twilight Zone/Outer Limits/Black Mirror.

This is a well-crafted story with a lot of humanity, yet it doesn't answer many questions.
Zac Thompson
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A moving look at mortality, love, and what it means to be human. Read it in one sitting and immediately wanted to start from the beginning. One of the best pieces of science fiction I've ever read.
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Other books in the series

Upgrade Soul (2 books)
  • Upgrade Soul Vol. 1
  • Upgrade Soul Vol. 2
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