Tag Archives: i.d.

‘I.D.’ is a wonderfully composed tale regarding identity

ID2Emma Rios is one of the most talented creators out there that has proven her worth at both the writing (Mirror) and illustrating (Pretty Deadly) side of the comic book world. In I.D., Rios handles both the words and art, confidently presenting a story that is thought provoking and emotional with a respectable amount of research put into it; due in additional thanks to Medical Doctor Miguel Alberte Woodward whom writes a back essay to add more into the reality of the topic at hand. I.D. is about three individuals, Noa, Charlotte and Mike, whom apply for an experimental procedure in which your brain, mental capacity and self are maintained as you are placed within a different body. Through the five chapters, originally printed in Island Magazine, the three characters discuss and question their own motives towards making this process a reality.

What immediately jumps out in terms of the visual style of the comic is Rios’s use of a contrasting palette of warm, glowing, hues of red. As much as the story digs a little bit into questions regarding the binaries of gender, whether it is intentional or not, using red instead of playing with black and white, creates a sort of neutral space for the words and images to breath out from. Rios consistently does a great job at creating a tone and atmosphere that is melancholic but also slightly unnerving and tense at the same time. Whether it’s the rain dropping outside the coffee shop where Noa, Charlotte and Mike discuss their reasons into wanting a new body or inside the apartment of Charlotte, Rios puts purpose behind the easy flow of pages. She sketches out wider, detailed frames to settle in on the three characters, utilizing the space to capture their unified journey, and closer, sometimes round panels to focus in on particular sections of dialogue or pointing at the various body parts (eyes, mouths, ears, noses, etc.) as if these are partly what makes each of them insecure.

“Well, it’s obvious none of us feel very proud of who we are.”

“I disagree. Hating your body, or your life, doesn’t mean you hate yourself.”

ID3These quotes are taken from a statement made by Mike, commented back by Charlotte. Questions of having pride in yourself can change on a day to day basis. When the pride of realizing that your true self is inside you but not reflective of your physical self cannot possibly be put into the proper amount of words unless someone identifies directly with wanting to or having gone through a physical transition or an acceptance of ones true self. And, what Charlotte responds with is something that she appears to take on as an attribute to her reasoning into wanting to make this body transplant. She is a writer and is the most cryptic into her reasoning. She continues to make remarks that appear to reveal her own insecurities regarding the nature of the transformation: “Being unhappy with what we are, or have, may sound frivolous but is inherently human. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s our restlessness.” Restlessness may be the wrong way (or perhaps right way) to describe feeling trapped in a false vessel but what these statements made by Charlotte reinforce is the strength in which Rios writes these characters as three-dimensional human beings who are far from perfect, and that is totally okay.

The fact that all three are, for the most part, sure that their true selves are not reflected on the outside is perhaps the most truly felt from Noa. She plain and simply admits that she is a man. She is upset at being weak and how her metabolism won’t allow her to be the man she really wants to be. After storming off from a heated discussion within the coffee shop, she barges into the women’s bathroom; Rios leaves a single panel to focus on the symbol on the bathroom door. These signs and symbols for gender pervade society and tend to ignore other identities that aren’t considered ‘traditional’ or a ‘patriarchal norm’. Rios doesn’t dig too deep into this conversation but her imagery and dialogue does point towards this consistently relevant topic of how and where identity can be influenced.

Another moment that shares Noa’s confidence in making the transition is when her and Mike begin questioning Charlotte’s motives towards the body transplant. The conversation goes like this:

ID4Mike: “I wonder if just being bored, or lonely, is enough to do this…”

Noa: “It’s better than suicide.”

Mike: “Perhaps…didn’t think of it that way.”

Noa: “I did.”

This establishes not only the unfortunate conclusion that many come to when it comes to people questioning their identities (as a mental illness) and Noa having gone through a potential slew of mental battles, but most importantly that Mike didn’t think of the alternative as being suicide. It is a sad realization that this thought carries over to our own reality. It’s this thought, or lack of, that doesn’t get through to people. Sometimes the mental battles become too much; whether it is the shame imposed by others, the mere costs to transition, or the hypnotizing by various institutions, these are but a few of a fair list that many individuals can come up against. What Rios really captures here is the sense of unity and togetherness from three albeit different personalities with three different reasons that confide in each other to solidify what matters most: the confidence in accepting who they really are.

This wonderfully well-crafted story by Emma Rios is also notable for its taking place during a demonstration that takes place outside one of the comic’s settings. Its presence is felt through a select few frames showing outside the coffee shop but at one moment (minor spoilers) the physical fight that takes place between a few of the demonstrators and police gets brought inside. The police threaten Noa, Mike and Charlotte, physically assaulting the three. However, instead of cowering away or witnessing one of the characters run away, the three, together, fight back and manage to escape to live another day. This moment really encapsulates a strong theme in I.D. in that what may appear as a mental, individual battle on the inside, is something that can be shared and understood to strengthen ones identity. Many battles are lost but the war is won as a collective. Just look at the support that went on behind the LGBTQ community recently through the hashtag #QueerSelfLove that trended on Twitter. As much as I.D. provides more of a futuristic setting to body transitions, there is also a comfort being addressed in finding a way to love yourself just the way you are. Judging by the phenomenal response to #QueerSelfLove, love will reign over hate.

Written and Illustrated: Emma Rios
Technical Assistance and Back Essay: Alberte Woodward MD
Flat Assists: Roque Romero
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

DIVINITY2_003_VARIANT_PEPOYWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Divinity II #3 (Valiant) – Quite frankly, this is one of the best miniseries you’ll read all year. And I’m saying that having only read half of it.

Rai #14 (Valiant) – Another tie-in to Valiant’s summer 4001 A.D.event, and this one is sure to she some light on the recent(ish) past of New Japan. It should be fun.

Red Thorn #8 (Vertigo) – A new arc? Oh, twist my rubber arm, why don’t you? I took this off my pull list five issues ago, but yet I just can’t stop buying it…



Top Pick: Bitch Planet #8 (Image Comics) – Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro have been proving, issue by issue, that Bitch Planet is one of the most important titles on the comic stands. It continues to jab and stab at the patriarchy with an exploitative, 1970s aesthetic to De Landro’s art style, heightened by Kelly Fitzpatrick’s nuanced colours. The comic alone is worthy of the price tag so it is a bonus, and a great treat at that, in which every issue includes a back essay analyzing particular issues from a feminist approach. How could you not pick up the next part to the arc entitled ‘President Bitch’?

Autumnlands Tooth and Claw #11 (Image Comics) – The recent issues of Autumnlands has done a solid job at exploring more parts of the world, encountering a wider variety of anthropomorphic groups and the towns/lands they belong to. Kurt Busiek is one of the best in the business at world-building, making those slower-paced issues hit their mark instead of feeling like an unnecessary breather. Benjamin Dewey has been doing a beautiful job at capturing the variety of environments and characters in this fantasy series. Dewey’s visuals naturally pop through another wonderful creator in Jordie Bellaire and her colours. Not only is the world of Autumnlands being further explored, more knowledge is being provided on the mysterious past history as well.

I.D. (GN) (Image Comics) – Originally printed in the Island anthology magazine from Image, I.D. tells the story of three people whom are in the midst of a transformation into another body, maintaining their mental selves upon the transition. Emma Rios poetically questions ideas of identity and how comfortable or uncomfortable we are in the bodies we are born in and thus grow up in. The visual style is unique in that it focuses on a glowing red within the detailed panels. Rios crafts a beautiful, thought provoking tale that points at the dilemmas of gender and identity conformity.

Divinity II #3 (Valiant Entertainment) – Though Valiant has been releasing a steady flow of great, entertaining titles for years now, the Divinity titles easily stand out. Divinity II has picked up right where the last series left us, in terms of quality of storytelling through Matt Kindt’s flowing scripts, Trevor Hairsine’s striking, emotional pencils with Ryan Winn’s inks, and David Baron’s purposeful colour palette. Taking the perspective of Valentina, this title is taking a different direction from the one guided by Abram Adams. Judging by the jaw-dropping last few pages of the last issue, including a little time travel, it will be really interesting to see the journey this creative team has in store for Valentina and her Stalinism values.



Top Pick: Lucas Stand #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Kurt Sutter, that guy behind Shield and Sons of Anarchy, makes his comic book writing debut.

Divinity II #3 (Valiant Entertainment) – This book took me by surprise with the introduction of the Russian cosmonaut Myshka, who battles with Divinity for control of the Valiant Universe.


Mr. H

Top Pick: Action Comics #958 (DC Comics) – The twice monthly epic continues! I am really enjoying this story so far. Everything from Luthor trying to be the new Man of Steel, to the return of Doomsday and finally the apparent return of a de-powered, possibly amnesia Clark Kent. Everything seems to be really hitting on all cylinders and I am  just so glad the Real Superman is back.

Detective Comics #935 (DC Comics) – The Bat-Family cometh. In a new way though. I like the boot camp style of sidekick training that Batman and Batwoman are putting the young heroes through. The only odd mud ball out for me is Clayface, which hasn’t sold me yet. Bringing the Wayne and Kane heritage back into the title is gold though. Team Batman could just be it’s best yet.

The Flash #1 (DC Comics) – The introduction of a new villainous speedster : Godspeed. I want a front row seat to this race. Probably standing room only.

Justice League #52 (DC Comics) – Aftermath of the “Darkseid War.” After one of the most incredible tales in League’s history and all the bombshells dropped, where do they go from here? I have to find out.



Top Pick – Ultimates #8 (Marvel) – I’m hoping this book shows us what happened between the Ultimates and Thanos that cost the team dearly, and set Iron Man into motion to choose his side in the Civil War.  Also hoping the tie ins give us more insight, and not just “filler” stories to slog the main story along.

Civil War II: Choosing Sides #1 (Marvel) – This could be interesting.  Sure, we’ll see how the main heroes deal with this new Civil War, but what about the lesser seen players?  Everyone will be affected by this latest skirmish between the heroes, and I’m curious to see the impact on those around them.

Uncanny Avengers #10 (Marvel) – Hank Pym IS Ultron?  Ultron IS Hank Pym?  Curious to see what’s going on with this story.  And excited to see the return of Janet (aka The Wasp).



Top Pick: Lucas Stand #1 (BOOM! Studios) – While Kurt Sutter has had his works turned into comics, the creator of The Shield and Sons of Anarchy makes his comic writing debut in this new series from BOOM!. The concept is a vet who’s recruited by Lucifer to send demons back to hell. I feel like we’ve seen this before, but I’m sure Sutter and co-writer Caitlin Kittredge will make it unique.

Acton Man #1 (IDW Publishing) – The British version of GI Joe is getting a new comic series and for those who read the Free Comic Book Day release, you’ll know why this should be interesting. Action Man is dead, long live Action Man!

Bitch Planet #8 (Image Comics) – It feels like forever since the last issue, but every one of this series has delivered and no matter how long between issues, it’s a warm welcome back.

Princeless: Raven, the Pirate Princess #9 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Speaking of a series that delivers… this is a female centered kick-ass comic that also delivers with every issue. You want diversity and to break from the comic “norm?” Well, here you go.

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #54 (IDW Publishing) – It’s the Autobots versus the Decepticon Justice Division and I’m expecting a lot of death.

I.D. to hit Paperback this June

Emma Ríos will release her dystopian tale I.D. in trade paperback this June.

I.D. analyzes the conflict between perception and identity through the struggle of three people who consider a “body transplant” as a solution to their lives.

I.D. TP (ISBN 978-1-63215-782-9) hits comic book stores Wednesday, June 22nd and bookstores Tuesday, June 28, and will be available for $9.99.