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Mellick’s introductions always articulate the book’s intent; I mention this because after reading the intro to Steel Breakfast Era, I felt like the story was the perfect rendition of the influences and concepts the author cited. Mellick always provides plenty of vivid action in his work, but I felt like I was reading a graphic novel that didn’t need pictures, because the author explained what those pictures looked like in concise, fast-moving prose.
I bought this book solely because it’s supposed to highlight a variation of the author’s writing style, and I was treated to some beautiful, horrific “pictures.” Each chapter was a portrait. Zombies, sex, violence; all of these concepts are bluntly stated with frantic sentences that portray a lucid, dream-like setting. This is David Lynch’s interpretation of Anime. Mellick bombards the reader with ideas and mysteries that seem to mirror something incomplete, like the seemingly unfinished people who are built or modified by the technology-infused survivors of a dying world. The characters in this book are not “human” in the way we might understand or identify, but their intentions and desires are all-too real, and desperate. It’s this desperation, and a feeling of desolation, that keeps this story from becoming as cold and lifeless as the zombie menace.
Our protagonist wants what the majority of us want; love, or a sense of belonging. A sense of being complete. With masterfully fragmented sentences which describe a broken future, I felt like the entire composition fulfilled the promise in Mellick’s introduction. A cyberpunk splatterfest that fuses William Gibson with Shinya Tsukamoto, The Steel Breakfast Era is a feast for the eyes, at least until the tik-worms seize control…