The Digital Pools is the debut book from Alex Robnett and Matt Stevens. The Digital Pools takes place in the near future, 2034 to be exact, where technology has entered a symbiotic stage with the human body. The world’s digital communication pipelines have melded into a single, nascent network called The Simulation, an immersive and visceral virtual experience. The Simulation opens up new possibilities for human interaction and relationships, but also for crime. This is where The Digital Pools begins, at the cross-section of great human advancement in technology and the worst human instincts. Murder and torture, in what could have been a paradise, thus the subtitle “Enter The Id”.
Robnett sets up a perfect mix of crime noir and digital-age thriller. The first issue has just enough intrigue to keep you wanting more. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, action comic, this isn’t it. Issue 1 sets up the intricate landscape that is cybercrime and the world of 2034. Many questions are introduced with few answers supplied.
Robnett describes The Digital Pools:
“Funded by a government program to police this new digital dream, major metropolitan areas around the United States form Virtual Crime Task Forces (VCTFs). Their mandate? To police The Simulation for acts of mindcrime, the subjugation of innocent minds committed by a new breed of criminal. Leading the Boston Police Department’s VCTF is Lieutenant Julio Larosa, a mild-mannered but case-hardened public servant who accepts the post near the twilight of his career. Mitigating his lack of technological know-how, he hires a freelance Simulation developer named Rico Teller to support the BPD’s new digital crime-fighting unit. As their investigations begin, Larosa and Rico forge new friends and enemies, while leveraging the connections of their past, fighting their way through a sea of depravity and danger in a world where few are who they seem and the threads of reality merge with the signals of the digital world.”
Stevens’ art and color pallet are superb. The images seem to flow off the page, which helps brings to life this strange new world. He managed to give a dreamlike air to the cyber world and has a knack at nailing character’s emotions through facial expressions.
The book is a great read, but the many questions left up in the air makes me wish that they had published a double-sized first issue. It’s going to be hard to wait on issue two and keep the many threads being woven in my head until then. I’ll definitely need a reread before issue 2 drops. Stevens and Robnett are the perfect team-up for this book. It will be a painstaking process waiting for future issues, but if you are a fan of sci-fi, crime noir, and comics, this book is for you.