Fresh off the heels of the fantastic Milford Green Saga collected edition, Samuel George London and Mikael Hankonen are back together with Access Denied. Set in a time where Artificial intelligence has colonised Mars, this comic tells the story of two very different people finding love despite their respective people’s animosity. But will it bring readers head over heels?
Publisher: Signal Comics
Writer: Samuel George London, Nicole D’Andria (Editor)
Artist: Mikael Hankonen
Price: Pre-order at Kickstarter
Access Denied follows the story of Robert, the son of the Earth Ambassador to Mars, whose population consists of artificial intelligence who left the human race behind 20 years prior to set up their own society. However, upon arriving on the Androids’ home planet, Robert begins to notice a degree of inequality directed towards himself from the Mars populace, as well as the same from his brother towards them. But then Robert encounters Athena, the Mars leader’s young daughter and an instant connection is made and love blossoms. But, in a galaxy where humans and androids see each other as unequal, can the love remain or will it be a case of access denied?
Samuel George London has written an uplifting, heartfelt and truly beautiful story here, one which feels like a perfect spiritual successor to his outstanding Milford Green trilogy. London appears to have drawn influence from a variety of concepts from across all pop culture, such as Alex + Ada, Her, Romeo and Juliet and even episodes of the Animatrix, to build the plot. As a result, Access Denied is an endearing tale which not only follows the encounter of two (literally) star-crossed lovers while also shining a light on prejudice between societies. What makes this comic so enjoyable, however, is London’s fantastic characterisation of its cast, particularly the two leads. Robert and Athena are both so adorable, so optimistic and so engrossing that you can’t help but root for them as they try and lead by example and show how we should all treat each other in life.
This unbridled positivity is one of the book’s main draws, and also an encapsulation of what we enjoy about London’s work as a whole. We have previously struggled with his Action Lab series S Factor as we just found it too cynical and like it didn’t have anything positive to say for itself. This felt at odds with Sam’s other work and is why we ended up not reviewing it on the site. It just didn’t seem to go with the positive nature of Sam himself (anyone who has met him at a con will know what we are talking about here!) and that is why a book like this and Milford Green just works so well.
Meanwhile, artist Mikael Hankonen once again provides a solid turn with another display of of his gorgeous artwork which was so perfect in Milford Green (as well as his webcomic Year In Hereafter). Hankonen has created an incredibly utopian world with his style as both the world and characters have this very unique feel. The android characters in particular are the real standout here as Hankonen has designed looks for the resident of Mars which, while very human in their anatomy, are incredibly distinct from their Earthly counterparts. This helps sell the idea of the ideological differences which the two worlds have. Hankonen also gives the main Martian characters (Athena, Aries, Hermes, Zeus, etc) unique looks to not only distinguish amongst each other but also to reflect both their names and their personalities.
Access Denied is an absolutely beautiful comic, both in terms of its plot and its visuals as Samuel George London and Mikael Hankonen follow up their phenomenal team up on Milford Green with another delightful collaboration. This is such a poignant and delightful read, imbued with every ounce of London’s signature optimism. So if you need a pick me up in these dark times, then this is most definitely the book for you.