When reading I.D. the story didn’t feel completely original. Mostly because the idea of implanting your mind and personality into another body is something that has been written about before.
Richard K. Morgan used this concept in his sci-fi detective novel Altered Carbon. He has done a number of follow-up books, and supposedly there is a television series in the works about protagonist Takeshi Kovacs.
What I.D. does differently though is it makes it a more personal story between three people. Those three people are Mike, Noa, and Charlotte. Each person has agreed to partake in an experiment in which their minds are implanted into different bodies. And each of them has their own set of reasons for wanting to go through with the procedure.
Emma Rios pulls double duty on both the story and the artwork. In the past I have loved Rios’ artwork on other titles. However, with I.D. she really missed the mark with both the art and the story.
Starting with the story it was slow, sort of boring, and the dialogue was at times clunky. In the hands of a different writer though it could have been much better. To begin with, about half of the comic takes place in what appears to be a restaurant or a coffee shop. The three main characters spend time getting to know one another and discussing their motivations for wanting to go through with the experiment. These restaurant scenes are reminiscent to director Jim Jarmusch’s film Coffee and Cigarettes. Through these interactions the three characters supposedly build some sort of bond with one another. However, this is just implied towards the end of the story. Their conversations were short with another. The dialogue should have been longer and more fleshed out. This would give a better sense that these characters really were beginning to know one another.
Then at times, the dialogue seemed too wordy. In particular, when they were explaining the science of the procedure. I almost got the sense that a lot of research was done on the science, and how something like this could be possible. In doing all that research, Rios wanted to show off just how intelligent they were. It is interesting to read, but we don’t need all the details.
I.D. also tries to make a comment on gender politics with one of the characters. Noa, a young woman, is having her mind transplanted into a male body. Although, transgender rights is a hot topic in the news today, this revelation unbalanced the rest of the narrative. Mostly, because Charlotte and Mike’s motivations don’t appear to be completely obvious, or discussed nearly enough. This leads to Noa’s story overshadowing Charlotte’s and Mike’s.
As far as artwork goes it was a poor choice to illustrate, and shade everything in the weird pink/red color scheme that Rios chose. Her artwork in other titles has been impressive. On this book the strict use of the colors she chose makes it hard to look at. It sort of hurts the eyes and makes it difficult to follow along. In some of the more action oriented scenes the whole panel would look like a mess of lines. This slowed my reading speed down quite a bit. I was spending more time looking at the art than I’d like to.
Truthfully I didn’t like this graphic novel. I typically like sci-fi stuff, especially when it tries to get you to think about life and relationships. However, I.D. was just too unbalanced. The artwork was also hard to look at. If it was done in black and white it would have been more clear what was taking place. This really needed to be handled by another writer.
- Feels like the sci-fi equivalent of Coffee and Cigarettes
- Dialogue wasn’t very good
- oa’s personal struggle overshadows Mike and Charlotte’s own
- Artwork is difficult to look at