Following up a stunning debut is always going to be a daunting prospect for both the creators and the readers. As a writer you have set the bar for what people expect from your work, and as a reader you expect to get the quality that you got from the debut. At the same time the second book could be seen as a confident stride forwards for the writer as they know people are enjoying what they have previously written. The latter is very much the case here. The author Luke Melia knows the story he wants to tell and confidently does so throughout the 200+ pages of his second graphic tale Oculus.
It’s an interesting take on the familiar, but what makes it truly stand out above the rest is the depth that the creators have gone into to fully explain the technology of Oculus. Through carefully written ‘interviews’ with the creator of the technology and brilliantly realised advertisements, the tech that is Oculus feels like it could be something that would work. I found myself trying to find major flaws in the idea but couldn’t really find many. It seems that Melia has thought of everything when it comes to the product and for that he has to truly be commended. It is rare for a book to make a piece of fictitious technology 100% believable, but here I really can believe that this scenario could be possible.
Even though the story is about Shane it also is a study into the evolution of the Oculus and how it changes the lives of every citizen in the city. It works very much as its own character throughout the story, even though it becomes like a plot device allowing almost anything to be seen. The idea is near perfect and the story flows stunningly well, taking us through all manner of subjects and genres. The story at its heart is a detective story and in this it also excels due to the constantly twisting tale that takes the reader on a fascinating journey and keeps you wondering what’s coming next.
A comic wouldn’t work as well if it didn’t have strong artwork that could display what the writer is trying to express and here we have some pretty good work by Vincent Smith and David Anderson. At first I wasn’t too sure as it is quite stylised and quite bright in terms of the colours used, but I soon found myself absorbed in the world and found that it worked admirably. It never feels as polished as some of these massive budget comics dished out weekly by Marvel and DC, but it does what it does very well and at times truly works.
The one thing that disappointed me though was that quite a few of these adverts have QR-codes which when scanned with a reader, take you to a website. I expected to be taken to a brilliantly crafted series of pages that further expanded on the adverts with whole pages dedicated to these companies and their products. Unfortunately the codes only took me to the various deviant- art pages for the artists and other pages to do with the creative team. I can understand why they have done this, but for me it would have pushed the comic even further by creating more to the universe then simply this book.
All in all I think that this book is an even more confident stride forwards in terms of this creative team and one that I feel should be experienced by anyone who likes a good story with some deep characters and an incredibly carefully put together world. It's fair to say I really enjoyed this book, and would easily put it in my top ten comics I have read I quite a long time.