By Adam Rapp & Mike Cavallaro
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
“In a hyperkinetic future, the ultimate act of rebellion is slowing down” – Decelerate Blue Cover Blurb
Angela’s story, Decelerate Blue, is definitely that one of a few, handful of graphic novel s you would actually recommend to the non-graphic novel reading audience. It is a glimpse into a palatable future where one must maintain a higher heartrate; a frenetic pace with more productivity; where even speech is curtailed into terse, brevity that terminate with the word “go” in order to indicate the thought is terminated and another speaker can step in. A future that is ruled by mega-corporations, filled with mega-malls, where everything is sped up and everyone has a chip implanted inside their ulna (forearm bone). It is not really even conspiracy theory anymore; the devices (save the implants, which technically are available but not ethical) are available now: to check your pulse, to time your steps, to read more quickly, to wake you up to time your activity – it is not too difficult projecting twenty years in the future where everything will be faster paced. Perhaps not 12 minute movie fast (I mean could you even finish your popcorn by then?) but definitely more quickly than they are now. This is a future where even literature is done in condensed formats (the Reader’s Digest ™ Ultra-ultra-condensed versions).
The writing in Decelerate Blue, told from Angela’s point of view, is a variation in pacing. Two speeds are maintained: fast and slow; diametric opposites that tug and relax the reader’s attention. On the upside of human activity, it look at the spastic race of business people and apply this ‘ideology’ to everyday life. Banter, even between family members is not permitted and the writing relects this in short, terse sentences succeeded by the word “go.” It is a only slightly sped up world for some of us. Contractions are common (and required in the artificial society). In the underground, however, they’re trying to remove the chips, go off the grid, stop eating hasty-meals and have home cooked meals – where speech and dialogue is stretched out reflecting the slowed down pace. Contractions are avoided and writing take on a more philosophical tone. The dialogue is spot on. Angela’s voice is the conflicting voice of not being sure that she belongs in a sped up society and the comfort provided in slowing down, when she is accidentally gets dragged into the underground – even the music is slowed down, chanting slower, slower to the reader – absorb this, absorb this. The writing is excellent throughout and the plot is completely feasible (if you considered the chip your ID/biometrics machine). Rapp has the script nailed here and the reader is completely unprepared for the final pages.
Artistically, Cavallaro has interpreted the script masterfully. In the busy scenes the art becomes busy, if it is frenetic, the art reflects that. If it is slowed down in the underground, the art relaxes and you have time to absorb the small things, instead of the clutter of a hyper-modern lifestyle. Clean lines and panel flow grace this book, and it is easy on the eye and certainly not devoid of detail. Wherever the story takes you, the art takes you in hand, pushing and pulling with the aforementioned tugging and relaxing. It’s a rare synergy between art and word. Primarily black and white (to further slow your reading –black and white images are harder to ‘read’ than color ones) color only enters in the final few pages, where Angela makes a decisive choice that will change her life forever.
As I said before I would recommend this graphic novel to anyone, It is that fine of a work that it would appeal to almost everyone in today’s rat race, and gives healthy advice. Slow down, you are living but you are not enjoying life. Relax; smell the roses; take in a good book; watch that two-and-a-half hour movie; enjoy life. If this had been strictly a prose book, it would not have the impact. It is the complementary nature of the art and word that will truly push home the material discussed and impact the reader’s life.