ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Wiper,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Wiper Volume 1

Wiper Volume 1 is published by Dark Horse Comics, written by John Harris Dunning, art by Ricardo Cabral, colors by Brad Simpson, and letters by Jim Campbell. In a harsh, technologically advanced future, humanity struggles to find balance with itself as it shares its world with aliens and synthetic lifeforms. But for Lula Nomi, a special kind of detective called a wiper, whose job sees her wipe her memory after each case, the struggles in this world are about to get darker and more dangerous than she ever imagined. But this is the life of a wiper.

The most intriguing aspect of Wiper Volume 1 comes from its exploration of the story’s titular profession. While Lula works her way through her current case, writer Dunning takes several moments to explore why someone would want to repeatedly erase their memories and how it impacts them. Other Wipers are introduced, and Lula, since she has no memory of her previous days, also finds herself pondering the questions herself. These introspective moments are crafted cleverly, with the author seemingly enjoying dangling questions in front of the reader for whom no clear-cut answers can be given.

Beyond these more philosophical moments, Wiper Volume 1 delivers a mystery that leads its main character down a largely familiar path as they search for a missing person. Corporate corruption, racism, and greed all connect the clues for Lula’s case. The larger themes at work here never break out into anything exciting or new but deliver the time-worn elements of the cyberpunk genre it fits in with solidly. Though there is one strong plot twist mid-way through this tale that is quite surprising.

The only place where the story struggles significantly is with its cast. While Lula’s lack of memories is utilized to introduce some interesting philosophical musings, her being a blank slate doesn’t do a ton for her personality. Combine this with a supporting cast that doesn’t spend enough time with its lead to flesh itself out, and you have some mildly interesting personalities in play here, but no one you ever truly feel attached to.

The harsh, dark, and overcrowded world of Wiper Volume 1 is captured nicely through the book’s art. Cabral does a great job laying the book out, creating a great visual flow to go along with the story. There are also some great perspectives throughout this book to create the classic energy of a noir-style mystery story.

Despite how cold, corrupt, and dangerous Wiper Volume 1‘s world is, there is always a true beauty in it that is never wholly drowned out by the struggles of the narrative. Much of this visual glamor is thanks to a vibrant color palette used by Simpson to breathe energy and life into the often troubled world. Wrapping up the book’s visuals is the basic but well-executed lettering. While nothing about the lettering ever caught my attention or truly grabbed my eye, it never got in the art’s way or caused the dialogue to get confused.

When all is said and done, Wiper Volume 1 delivers a solid mystery story with some interesting musings about its main character and her fictional profession. Despite the characters coming across as fairly shallow, there is some enjoyment to be found in this futuristic mystery tale.

Wiper Volume 1 will be available on November 16th, wherever comics are sold.


Wiper Volume 1
3.5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Wiper Volume 1 delivers a solid mystery story with some interesting musings about its main character and her fictional profession. Despite the characters coming across as fairly shallow, there is some enjoyment to be found in this futuristic mystery tale.

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