Simon Roy and Damon Gentry’s Grip of the Kombinat is an action-packed, bawdy sci-fi epic that balances biting satire and goofball absurdism.
Between the return of Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga and the success of Si Spurrier and Matias Bergara’s Step By Bloody Step #1 — Image Comics has been publishing some truly groundbreaking Science Fiction comics this year. This trend will continue in June when Simon Roy, best known for him and Brandon Graham’s reimagining of Rob Liefeld’s Prophetand artist Damon Gentry team up to present their new graphic novel Grip of the Kombinat. The upcoming sci-fi comedy is a relentlessly inventive story that reminds fans that even the darkest futures can be remarkably funny.
Grip of the Combination explores a distant future where the solar system is controlled by two gigantic, militarized corporations, Peerless Universal Kombinat and XIT. The graphic novel follows a PUK security officer as he subdue terrorist threats and attempts to negotiate with his combative XIT counterparts — all while trying to maintain a healthy relationship with his robot wife. Meanwhile, a woman gets a job delivering mail in the PUK offices to gain access to company secrets and a band of decommissioned worker robots’ attempts to keep busy have disastrous consequences.
It’s possible to read each chapter in Grip of the Combination as either a stand-alone short story or a part of the graphic novel. Each chapter tells its own fun, satisfying story, but when viewed as a whole — non-sequiturs become important plot points and characters grow and develop in spite of the madness of their universe. This fractured, but interconnected structure adds to the expansive nature of the universe. It’s easy to imagine every character living their own complicated lives and visiting worlds that would otherwise blur into the background. Roy’s knack for world-building is aided by his incredible sense of humor. He blends low-brow jokes about the sex lives of robots with venomous satire about late-stage capitalism to create fun, insightful dialogue. The rapid-fire one-liners keep the book moving at a remarkably fast pace.
Damon Gentry brings Roy’s innumerable ideas to life in the pages of Grip of the Kombinat. Gentry designs corporate offices, gigantic maggots and worker-robots with a singular vision that communicates the brutal nature of this dystopian story, while leaving plenty of room for humor. Even his robots have cartoonish personalities that complement Roy’s comedy. Gentry captures the hilarity of certain moments with the grace and precision of great cartoonists like Steve Lieber and Simon Hanselmann, but he seems equally adept at destroying the universe as he is at building it. His action scenes from him are exciting and gorgeously composed. The inventive page layouts and a wide array of textures will make readers forget that they are reading a black and white book as he pulls them further and further into the wild proceedings.
Plenty of comics creators have explored distant futures overrun by nefarious corporations, but no one has produced a comic quite like Grip of the Kombinat. Each page is jam-packed with unique concepts and hilarious jokes. Roy and Gentry appear to be having a great time in the pages of their upcoming graphic novel. Their energy is infectious, and fans are sure to be delighted by this spectacular comic.
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