In a world on the brink of medical collapse, healing just got sicker…
What do you get if you cross a far right British government with an antibiotic apocalypse riot and a gruesome murder? The birth of Surgeon X and her renegade practice. Extreme times call for extreme medicine.
Surgeon X is a speculative science fiction novel set in the not-too-distant future London, and is not really sure of what is really wants to focus on. There are multiple sub-plots in this collection, but none of them are cohesive enough and often the only thing linking is the protagonist Rosa Scott, who is very much a male version of the typical loner wolf character. I’m not sure if she is supposed to be projecting the ‘strong woman’ trope, but she come across more like an idea of what a male author might think a strong woman must be. Her story is that she is a renegade surgeon who does operates on patients in a far-right British society, in the midst of a global antibiotic resistance crisis. I was missing a few pages per chapter in this galley, so I had to piece together much of the story myself, but still I had to admit not much of it convinced me that this story had its eye on a central plot.
The science parts of the novel are pretty sound, I can attest to that. It shows a good degree of research has gone into creating the circumstances that pose the challenges to our protagonist. I wish that much research had gone into depicting the POC characters, because they come across more like caricatures, and what you would expect a Westerner to think Asian people are like. For example, the Indian family shown – they appear to be Sikh, but the woman is shown wearing a saree, which they don’t usually wear; a salwar-kameez is a more apt attire for a Sikh woman. As for Rosa’s schizophrenic brother, he shows more in commonality with a conspiracy theorist than a patient suffering from a mental illness, which I feel reinforces prejudice against them.
As for the artwork, it is amateurish at best. The lineart is terrible and there is no consistency in character design even within a chapter. A lot of coloring is lost in the traditional method of putting everything in shadows. And detailing is lavish in some parts, and sparse in others. Aesthetically, the artwork did not appeal to me in the least.
Overall, this book had potential but the storyline is lost in discrete plot arcs and the artwork is terrible.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Image Comics, via Netgalley.