Heavy Liquid by Paul Pope

Heavy Liquid
by Paul Pope
Vertigo, 2008

A rather good manga-influenced work of speculative fiction (set in 2070) which features some worthy industrial design and vivid characterisation. The substance of the title is a mysterious metal which turns into a super-drug called Black Milk when heated. The hero ‘S’, an ex-police officer with a Jagger haircut, is pursued by Halloween-masked assassins after stealing a large quantity of Heavy Liquid, which is annoying as he has just been hired by a mysterious art collector (the buyer of the metal) to locate an ex-girlfriend who has fled to Paris, and give her a commission to make a sculpture… out of Heavy Metal. Got that? Plus, ‘S’ has become addicted to pouring Black Milk into his ear, and may be turning into some sort of extra-terrestrial-possessed-super-human. So, yeah, suck on that, Blade Runner!

The imaginative brush artwork is in two colours (red and blue) and full of details, the action rips along and the whole thing is filmic but not in the irritating modern sense where the graphic novel is but a mere storyboard for the multi-media concept which ultimately leads to a film and a franchise and all that bollocks. Did I mention that one of assassin’s masks is apparently a Picasso?

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