By K. Wroten
A blistering critique of digital media and a kaleidoscopic depiction of consumer culture, Eden II is both fanciful and satirical, a combination of deft cartooning and virtuosic storytelling.
In the grungy, punk-inflected world K. Wroten creates, a cast of disaffected young characters struggle to find their purpose in life. Faced with a dying Earth and numbingly useless jobs, protagonists Ellis and Dr. Otis Heck invent an immersive virtual reality game, Eden II. But when Heck betrays Ellis and sells the game to a mysterious corporation, the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur. As each chapter highlights a new character in the ensemble, the game’s impact grows as the world becomes consumed by fantasy.
Coming off the heels of their acclaimed queer comics Cannonball and Crimes, Eden II is Wroten’s magnum opus, establishing them as a breakout graphic novelist. Philosophical, sarcastic, self-assured, Eden II is a vital work of the moment that positions Wroten alongside recent comics luminaries like Emily Carroll, Isabel Greenberg, Melanie Gilman, and Tillie Walden. Reminiscent of the stylized angst of Gregg Araki and Jamie Babbit’s works, Wroten’s imagery in Eden II reflects the blighted pastiche of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker—and they have suffused that pastiche with a dark sense of humor and technologically enhanced moral ambiguity.