Review: Upgrade Soul: The Complete Collection

screenshot2016-09-26at3-15-56pmThe world has always been obsessed with the “fountain of youth”, and as technology improves one can only believe it is a matter of time before we can stop or eve reverse it. Popular culture and science fiction have explored it in various incarnations. One of the most interesting versions of this, was the recent “Age of Adaline”, which speaks off the struggles of getting old without your body showing the visible ravages of time. Then there is the reverse version of fountain of youth, like in “Big”, where he gets to find out how it is to be older while still possessing the mind and spirit of an adolescent. One of my personal favorites is the Black Mirror episode of “San Junipero”, which technically doesn’t age them, but lets the main characters live a younger version of themselves.

The movies I remember from my youth are the “Cocoon” movies, which dealt with senior citizens being rejuvenated by aliens. Not since those movies, have senior citizens and their adventures with the fountain of youth not so much been revisited since then. That is until I had the good fortune about finding out about Upgrade Soul, which just so happened to have won the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity at the Long Beach Comic Expo. The description alone was more than worth the look:

UPGRADE SOUL is the story of an elderly couple who become the guinea pigs of a visionary procedure that aims to revivify them by filtering toxins from their bodies on a molecular level. When the procedure experiences a fatal complication, the couple is faced with severely disfigured, though intellectually superior duplicates of themselves. Soon, it becomes clear that only one version of each individual can survive, and the psychological battle for dominance begins.” From the first panel, the story immerses you into the world of Molly and Hank.

When they are told about this experiential procedure, they are more than hopeful for the positive gains it would bring such as living up to 200 years and really didn’t consider the possible negative residual effects. The story flips between before the procedure and after the procedure, as to follow a non-linear way of telling the story but even more compelling. As we meet the other couple who have gone through the procedure, the reader gets challenged with traditional beauty standards, what their idea of it is and what they consider inner beauty. By the end of the book, our main characters’ intellect and senses get heightened and much like “Lucy “and “Limitless”, they have truly become better versions of themselves.

This book, much like one of my favorite movies, and maybe because they remind me of family members makes you fall in love with the characters, just like “Bubba Hotep.” The sequential art feels like portraits at times and really makes the reader feel at home. The story is smart and more immersive than most fountain of youth stories, it gives you feels at the most unexpected moments. Overall, a powerhouse book that feeds the mind as much as it rejuvenates the spirit.

Story: Ezra Claytan Daniels Art: Ezra Claytan Daniels
Story: 10 Art:10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

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