By Thomas L. Batten
a huge cast of characters from every tier of urban life-including an
oily stockbroker, a love-struck interracial couple, a disgraced
detective seeking redemption by catching a serial killer, and an
international saboteur-Kuper (World War 3 Illustrated) presents
an absolutely epic tale, all the more impressive for being sans dialog
or captions. Inhabiting New York City at the peak of a political
scandal, Kuper’s characters navigate a city in which each brief meeting
or missed connection serves as another link in a chain connecting every
life, escalating in some cases to moments of grace and in others to
catastrophe. Illustrating in a distinctive stencil and street
art-influenced style, Kuper manages to pack an incredible amount of
detail into every panel, so what at a glance looks like a breezy read is
actually incredibly dense and absorbing.
Verdict Although told with a relative lack of text, The System has the heft of a literary novel and should be embraced by both comics fans and open-minded readers of literary fiction.