Bionic–New graphic novel explores cybernetic love in a coming of age tale of a Fifteen Million Dollar Girl

Review by C.J. Bunce

The daughter of the CEO of a wealthy prosthetics corporation is the world’s first cyborg in writer-artist Koren Shadmi’s new graphic novel Bionic, arriving in comic shops today from IDW Publishing.  It’s a mix of Let Me In, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Superbad, and Ex Machina.  Creeping along in a cold, off-kilter way like Amazon Studios’ series Tales from the Loop, Bionic is a twist on Marvel’s superhero Cyborg swapped out with a teenaged girl.

Nerdy teenager Victor is attracted to Patricia, a rich, popular girl at school.  When she gets injured in a car accident her father fits her with cybernetic prosthetics over about half of her body.  She becomes the outcast in the school, and the only person coming to support her is Victor, who she avoids because she is shallow and self-centered.

The science in the book is surprisingly behind the times, referring to Patricia as the first ever bionic person (when countless people already have had their lives improved with bionic or cybernetic assistance).  The story is full of clichés, a repeat of all those awkward teen angst and adult situation bits (drinking, drugs, sex) we’ve seen before (consider this one for older teen readers).

Shadmi neglects to address why the cybernetics might make life for a teenager any more difficult or different than some other injury or physical deformity (themes explored so well in countless TV series (like Humans), movies, books, and comics reviewed here at borg).  It’s much of that tired rebellion of youth and hackneyed elements found in coming of age stories and cyborg stories of the 1970s, despite the modern world setting and technology you’d expect to bring the story into the 21st century.

It doesn’t quite capture the mood and action of the rest of the book, but here is a short preview of the opening pages of Bionic, courtesy of IDW Publishing:

An interesting if thin story we’ve seen many times before in borg fiction that may appeal to the teen set, IDW’s Bionic is available today at your local comic shop.  You can also order it here at Amazon.

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