Created by Josh Finney and Kat Rocha
WOW!!! THIS was an incredibly interesting read. The story is chockfull of ideas that might, at first, seem unbelievable. But, as you read, you see how this isn’t so much Hollywood dramatization as it is perhaps cunning foresight into what the human race and our governments might actually be capable of.
In this story, we deal with drugs, depression, PTSD, a whole slew of bad guys and one very “spooky-bitch”, as is her moniker in this tale of woe.
It’s almost a post-apocalyptic kind of scenario. Except it’s not an alien invasion or a zombie takeover. It’s the aftermath of the gigantic, world-wide pissing contest that has been going since people of this earth realized they had differences…and didn’t like that.
And as nature and humanity would have it, the more we fight, the worse it gets.
Here, the US government has developed a completely independent military force called Intersec. These people are volunteers of sorts. People who want to help the US fight the war on terrorism and the like. They are whisked away to the government messed up idea of Club Med meets Bootcamp and are trained to be true killing machines. And it’s not just the normal tactics that the government and military use to break you down and rebuild you as a soldier. These “volunteers” are given drugs that change who they are completely, submitted to horrific circumstances and trained to kill first…and then kill second and third.
These drugs are a fascinating thought. The idea of them is pretty simple to explain generally but, the science behind it is wicked and complicated, very intricate. These drugs are shot into the veins in the forearm, just like regular needle drugs users would do. Except, these syringes are disposable, one-time use, one shot, one dose. Some of these drugs are liquid emotions. Some are whole new personalities that people inject to behave in a different way. It’s as if they inject a whole new soul and become a completely different person. And the drug that Intersec uses…is called a C.A.S.E. dose. It stands for Combat And Survival Enhancer. Now, the idea behind this is that once injected (and injected on a regular basis) the user will lose all sense of fear and be a better soldier and a better fighter…a better killing machine. Anybody that’s ever personally known a soldier or a cop that has been in violent and dangerous conflict knows that one of the biggest things that keeps these people alive is the ability to function without a sense of remorse, without hesitation, to follow their orders and their training and, if it comes down to it, to get the other guy before he gets them. They live on the edge, always tense, always evaluating their surroundings, the potential opponents around them, the exits, the dangers that lurk in the places they can’t see or hear. They have to form the ability to remain cool and calm under the worst kind of pressure, things we as civilians cannot possibly fathom unless we’ve lived it.
That would be a huge boost in the fighting forces, right? Well, apparently the government thought so too. So, they manufacture a drug that makes those soldiers. But, this drug, is like a Navy Seal meets the blind faith of an extremist plus the killer instinct of the most primal nature. And it’s all rolled into a one-shot injection. And these Intersec soldiers are to dose hard and dose often, in order to keep the fight alive in themselves.
The biggest problem is that this C.A.S.E. dose has some highly, shall we say, unpleasant side effects. The government version is more potent than what can be found on the street however, they ALL cause addiction and withdrawal. And unfortunately, once that sets in and the soldier is released from service, they are rendered mentally unstable and unfit for service, left to wallow in the shreds of what was once their life and soul.
Now, “spooky-bitch” is some sort of underworld boss that is gathering up down trodden addicts and ex-Intersec people to do all of her dirty work for her. A true crime boss rarely has to get THEIR hands dirty. She has an almost poetic and prophetic way of speaking which is eerie in itself.
The story has all kinds of little bits of creepy information that, when you put it all together, it doesn’t exactly seem so far-fetched.
I love the whole premise of this story. Though this is only volume one, it is incredibly interesting and the only reason I had to read it in two separate sittings was because “life” got in the way. It was just so incredibly fascinating and such a quick read, I breezed right through it. I can’t wait until the next volume is available.
The artwork is great for the story at hand. It perfectly captures the serious aspects of the story, the gravity of the situation and yet, it is subtle enough that it doesn’t take away from anything. It’s really a great balance in this book.
If you want your own copy of Utopiates, you can find it at the website below.
Be sure to look at what else they offer. I have three more reviews coming just from this publisher alone.