What’s it about? The year is 2054 and nearly all humanity live through their surrogate robot-selves, while experiencing everything from the safety of their homes. Sounds ideal. But an outcast group called The Dreads live without robots, in harsh opposition to these “abominations”. When an electrically supercharged surrogate starts killing, it’s up to a detective, stripped of his surrogate by the murderer, to go out in his neglected, weak fleshy body and save humanity. The already blurred lines between what humanity is and what is has become grow ever weaker. Detective Greer is torn between whether to save the surrogate machines or save people’s old way of life. For those who can’t be arsed to flip the pages of a comic it’s about to come out as a major Hollywood movie starring Bruce Willis as (obviously a cop) Detective Greer. Plenty of robot action then.

What’s special? Written by Robert Venditti, and drawn by Brett Weldele, this is a testament to the scale a detective novel can reach with such densely layered plotlines. The art plays a big part in the story-telling experience. Weldele uses raspy pencil lines to cut into the harsh world of the future, and portray an angular yet irregular cityscape, leaving the reader feeling out-of-time from the very first page. The colouring changes from scene-to-scene aptly, creating variations in mood which adds a film-like quality to the jumps in location and atmosphere. Luckily for the makers - or cleverly planned - this style is just what caught the eyes of the film producers who are going to make the creators very rich men. Unlike the punk king of comics Alan Moore, these guys probably won’t say no to the big bag of Hollywood money.

Look out for: One cell done solely in black and white to capture the effect of a camera flashing at the viewer – inspired stuff.

If you liked…
The Story: The Surrogates Volume 2: Flesh & Bone is due out July 29. Another futuristic work where society is being torn apart is Y: The Last Man – a tale documenting the travels of the last man on earth attempting to save humanity, while getting lots of lovely lady attention. Ideal.
The Art: A graphic novel win for Weldele came before Surrogates, in the form of Couscous Express, about a scooter gang war on the streets of New York. This is also by Brian Wood who now designs for the mighty Rockstar Games – look for his obvious work on the later GTA releases.

Hot off the press: Captain America is back from the dead in the aptly named Captain America: Reborn which has just gone on sale. Too eager to make it to the shops without doing a Cap and dying too? The prelude issue is available online here.