With BOOM! Studios’ adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” reaching the halfway mark soon, they’re launching a prequel mini-series that takes place in the same world as the book, focusing on the aftermath of the war that poisoned the planet, causing people to move off world, killing most of the animals, and creating a purpose for androids to be built. Chris Roberson writes “Dust to Dust” and does a good job of capturing the tone of Dick’s world, while also adding his own elements, including some references to contemporary technology like Twitter.
The main plot of the issue focuses on Charlie Victor, an android hunter, who recruits Malcolm Reed, a man who isn’t the same as anyone else. Victor’s narration introduces us to his world and Reed, and it’s not quite like Dick’s writing, but it has a somewhat flat-yet-slightly-melodramatic feel that’s alluring. Roberson seems to be going for a detective tone that suits the character, albeit very distant and emotionally flat. Victor’s narration of Reed’s lifestyle is purposefully misleading, making us think that he’s the android Victor is hunting and winds up revealing more about Victor than Reed.
The other part of the issue is focused on Samantha Wu, a researcher working on saving not just the remaining animals but all life on the planet from radiation poisoning. This part of the issue isn’t quite as interesting or compelling, providing a lot of background on the world, which is helpful but not essential given the audience for this book probably knows most of this. These scenes are serviceable and set up what will no doubt be an interesting subplot, but drag the issue down somewhat.
Robert Adler’s art is impressive. He has a clean style with some rough edges that suits the writing and alters his style for each character. Samantha is done in a minimalist, cartoony style, while Reed is sketchier and rougher, looking somewhat inhuman and off-balanced with Victor falling between the two characters. Adler doesn’t do many novel or experimental things with his art, focusing on presenting the story as clearly and cleanly as possible, which is how the writing is. That matter of fact unity between the art and writing gives the comic a good sense of cohesion.
“Dust to Dust” #1 doesn’t do anything dramatically different or wild with the world of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” but it introduces some key elements of the world and a similar plot of hunting down rogue androids. The hunters, though, are definitely unique and provide a window into the world that hasn’t been seen yet. Fans of Dick’s work should enjoy this expansion of the novel.