Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: PJ Holden
Publisaher: Titan Comics
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t it Cool News)
Math has proven the gateway for exponential jumps in our evolution towards….well I don’t personally know what the hell we’re evolving towards, but NUMBER CRUNCHER has a few theories I find far more plausible than anything I was taught in Sunday school or at my friends’ Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
Imagine if you will instead of Pearly Gates and Pineapples shoved up Hitler’s ass, the afterlife is far more akin to Albert Brook’s rendition in Defending Your Life. Now remove the Neil Simon banter and imagine Stephen Hawking was in the writing…I mean dictation chair. Confused? Sorry, but NUMBER CRUNCHER plays on such meta levels this is the best comprehension my teeny man brain can articulate.
I’m not saying the book is all heady, we are very grounded by our Protagonist, a limey thug named Agent #494 who shuffled off his mortal coil long ago. The long ago part is merely for our benefit, time doesn’t make a lick of difference once we are no longer carbon based, but I found an explanation necessary for my narrow linear mind. NUMBER CRUNCHER takes place today, yesterday and tomorrow. More on that in a second (pardon the pun).
Before we get to our other story focal point, we should talk God. God is also numbers based; he’s a mealy mouthed accountant that is appropriately called the Divine Calculator (GC). He’s also an emotionless son-of-a-bitch who enjoys fudging the numbers and exacting special clauses on the fate of souls with the glee of a child at Christmas. See, to call him God thought is a misnomer. In Spurrier’s version of the afterlife God also embodies the traits of his son Lucifer. Again though, it’s all about universal efficiency – evil is merely a denominator in the grand equation towards the infinity of illuminating the divine number.
To show the Grand Calculator’s aloofness towards intangibles like emotion, the GC gives Agent #494 an assignment to turn the screw on a mathematician “who is fundamentally indivisible” from his soul mate. I’m talking love in case I lost you. This mathematician in his dying moments figures out we’re all just part of the Matrix and ends up at the GC’s doorstep with a deal to reinvent the idea of reincarnation. Reincarnation with memories of what happened before in an attempt to reunite himself with the love he left behind in 1969. This strikes a chord with #494 since he too sold his soul for love – and got his denominator divided in the process.
Ripped from the pages of 2000 A.D., this compilation will soon be in full color. My preview copy had only started the process. I’ll tell you though, if I were the gang at Titan I would be careful. The half-colored version I saw was rather intriguing with its SIN CITY style accents for scenes on Earth while “heaven” being a firmly black and white…yes/no…1’s and 0’s environment. I also really dig Holden’s panel work, the afterlife is pure chaos in design despite its nobler orderly aspirations.
I won’t claim to fully understand NUMBER CRUNCHER, but I can say with the utmost statistical certainty I’m intrigued to read more this summer.