The combo of Samuel George London & Mikael Hankonen had already impressed with their Milford Green trilogy but when they teamed-up again on Access Denied it was always going to be worth a look.
It tells the story of a future where AI evolution allows the robots of Earth to leave for a new life on Mars and after establishing themselves there over the next couple of decades, it brings with it a chance to form new connections between the two planets. We see Earth’s ambassador arrive and the mix of divisions, differences & diplomacy takes us on a rollercoaster of ups & downs that test their established & newly flourishing relationships.
In amongst all that we have the core story as the ambassador’s son Robert & AI Zeus’ daughter Athena have more of a connection than they first realized. The shared views and frustrations are plain to see but the ‘Romeo & Juliet’ at the centre of this tale are just as ill-fated as you’d expect. There’s lessons to be learned along the way too for pretty much everyone and as things progress it’s a fine balancing act to see just which way things will play out for a future that will either continue with divisions or prosper with those planetary connections.
In the end, Samuel has taken a story that’s been told and retold a million times before and reimagined it into a modern sci-fi fable that ties more directly into the world of today. Tackling divisions, diversity, and even love in a way that gives us a story to get swept up in and with Mikael’s art & colours giving the world the grandiose air that it needs, it just feels like something worth getting lost in.
It could well have gone down the road of limiting its appeal with a focus on just the younger characters but with a balance between the significant events in the world itself & between the two planets on top of that, there is a definite feeling of this being more about a wider story than it first seemed. Access Denied is well written with a world/worlds that fit together nicely and with the art on offer it confirms just how solid a combo Samuel/Mikael make as they continue to impress with their creative projects….I could read their work all day long.
Check out the Signal Comics website, Facebook & Twitter pages to keep up to date with this & their other titles and check out the Etsy store for a copy of Access Denied. Keep tabs on those creators over on Twitter too:
Sam – @SamuelGLondon
Mikael – @MikaelHankonen