Metal Made Flesh already progressed from an impressive illustrated novella in the first volume before the release of all-comic affair Infection, a story which appears in this collected second volume alongside some additional stories.
The MMF team of Jeremy Biggs & Simeon Aston are joined by writer Cy Dethan and Gary Erskine & Phil Buckenham on art duties this time around for four stories that aim to build on what’s gone before and the successful Kickstarter project highlighted just how strong a following the title has.
Cold Open: Written by Jeremy Biggs with art by Simeon Aston & lettering by Jon Scrivens
Jeremy & Simeon open up the second volume with probably their best work yet as we almost stumble back into the familiar MMF surroundings and are embroiled in another brutal quest for survival as Izobel Vice takes centre-stage….the thing is, Survival seems to be a ‘Day Job’ for Izobel and there’s no questioning her abilities to make the choices she needs to take in order to escape some tough spots.
It’s a bit heavier in narrative & dialogue in places but Jon Scrivens keeps that well under control with lettering that lets the story flow and the artwork glow which we’ve come to already expect from the MMF team. Some stunning single page & 2-page work in this from Simeon that has to be seen to be believed.
Final Piece of Me: Written by Cy Dethan with art by Gary Erskine & lettering by Nic Wilkinson
This was one I’d already been lucky enough to read/review before but getting to see it in the context of this book helped punch home what a slick addition it is. It’s focused on Izobel too but this time we see her struggle against a cybernetic virus that leaves her fighting to survive in the cruel cyberpunk world that we thought we knew.
The switch to black and white is a stark one but Gary works well to keep the style fairly similar to Simeon’s while adding his own unique flair to the page layouts and action. Cy weaves a layered plot that pulls us this way and that but it’s fast pace brings an edge-of-the-seat vibe to it that’s an engaging read.
Blood and Oil: Written by Jeremy Biggs with art by Phil Buckenham & lettering by Jon Scrivens
The title story brings us deeper into the MMF hierarchy as underhand government deals with the Orobora alien race and the oppression of the masses allows us to see an all too familiar side to a dog-eat-dog world but there’s still room for hope in those situations.
Phil’s style is very different from Simeon’s but the colours used are similar enough that it keeps the connection with the other stories seamlessly. Some great angle and changes in perspective allow him to show off a bit and well he should because he adds some great touches to another of Jeremy’s MMF plots. sacrifice, loss and action are blended together well and there are some bittersweet moments that echo well beyond finishing the book so it’s fair to say another layer added and another area explored for the team.
Infection: Written by Jeremy Biggs & Simeon Aston with art by Simeon & lettering by Jon Scrivens
This is another MMF story that I’ve read/reviewed before but it still adds to the overall experience this second volume is aiming for as it harks back to Mud and his gangland dealings in the darker edges of the MMF world. Still the same glorious character interactions as the previous stories but Simeon’s art gets a chance to really shine in this one.
Jeremy’s plot and Jon’s lettering again to a great job in allowing that to happen and it’s further proof of how the MMF world has more than enough areas to explore and expand on.
This second collection of stories takes Metal Made Flesh to a whole new level and while the success of the Kickstarter was a clear indication of its popularity it’s this series of stories that goes on to prove it. It’s now a much deep and multi-layered world that Jeremy & Simeon have created with a world of possibilities that are still to be explored and while the addition of different art styles could have been a risk it’s pulled off with an indie swagger that’s warranted and refreshing. Previous comparisons with the likes of Ghost in the Shell are still valid but MMF is now well out from under that shadow and flexing its creative muscle in the big bad world of Indie/Small press releases.
The progression from volume one to volume two is instantly tangible and the question of “Is it any good?” can be answered with a simple “Fuck no, it’s amazing”. Sci-fi done right is glorious but sci-fi/anime/comic done right is a world to escape into, get lost in and fall in love with and that’s exactly what Jeremy & Simeon have gifted to us with MMF. While the wait for more may be agonizing but when it’s as good as this it’s well worth it…..and if you follow them on social media already you’ll have seen the hints at more to come like those below:
You can get hold of the Metal Made Flesh titles and more over on the website as well as the Subversive Comics store. You can also keep up-to-date with what’s next over on their Facebook page. You can also catchup with them at this weekend’s Thought Bubble convemtion in Leeds.