As convenient as technology is, it can become a double-edged sword. The more advancements that are made, the more we’ll come to rely on technology to carry out the smallest tasks. The danger of technology and the isolation it causes are themes that are explored in Michelle Stanford’s Centralia 2050: Volume 1. A girl named Midori is lost in the high-tech metropolis of Centralia, and the only memory she can hold onto is finding a child called Weiss. Stanford sent a copy of Volume 1 over to The Comic Vault in exchange for an honest review.
The story begins with Midori catching a glimpse of Weiss. Midori alerts a swarm of spider-like machines and they corner her in an alley. A man named Grey is caught up in the struggle and he watches Midori destroy the machines by herself. This incident throws them together and Grey takes pity on Midori. He offers to help her look for Weiss and they begin to investigate her disappearance.
Midori is grateful for Grey noticing her and that’s a great commentary on how a big city can feel like a graveyard. Most people are in a hurry and don’t see outside of themselves. People come across as ghosts and that ties into the theme of isolation. The graphic novels turns into a cyberpunk mystery, with Midori and Grey acting like old-fashioned detectives. It contrasts well with the sci-fi vistas of Centralia.
Midori and Grey are revealed to be ‘gen-mods’ or genetically engineered. This can be seen as a commentary of trans-humanism, especially with how gen-mods are persecuted within the story. Sanford has created some intriguing characters, with Midori and Grey playing off each other nicely. Midori is scatter-brained and manic, but she’s also brave and loyal. She doesn’t know her own strength half the time and I think that goes for a lot of people. Grey comes across as abrasive, but he has a good heart and is fighting against his own demons.
The art has a classic anime/manga feeling to it. The panels have a lot of detail in them and Stanford likes to let the background do the talking when characters aren’t speaking to each other. The black and white colouring adds to the noir setting.
Centralia 2050: Volume 1 is an impressive graphic novel with a strong female lead. There’s a lot to like and you can purchase it now.