This digital copy of I.D. by Emma Rios was courtesy of NetGalley.
tl:dr: Interesting concept but could have been better executed.
The description of this graphic novel is interesting, particularly when gender dysphoria is gaining recognition, technology is close to perfecting full body transplants, and society is grappling with the ethics of it. Here’s the official blurb:
A dystopian tale that analyzes the conflict between perception and identity through the struggle of three people who consider a ‘body transplant’ as a solution to their lives.
This and the cover design was enough to perk some interest on some rather heavy topics. I appreciate where Rios was trying to go with this but a couple of things didn’t really work for me, particularly with the red-pink monochrome that the comic uses throughout (feels unfinished somehow) and the skinny text that had me frequently pinching and zooming the page on my iPad. It read better at second try, but there were parts where the panels and action was chaotic and hard to follow.
There were three main characters – Noa, Mike and Charlotte. Noa identifies as a man but feels trapped in a petite female body that will never turn into the hulking lumberjack type like Mike. Mike claims to be an ex-convict seeking a new life. Charlotte claims to be bored. On Noa’s request, they sit down after their body transplant briefing for a chat because Noa is the youngest (17) among the three and needed some hand-holding.
In the end, Noa was the only one with a fully developed story line. I won’t give away what became of Mike and Charlotte, but it does leave you wondering, especially with Charlotte.
Rios partnered with neurologist Miguel Alberte Woodward, MD for the science-y parts, including an essay at the end of the volume entitled ‘Stitching (an) I.D. Together’, which I skimmed and ultimately skipped over. Perhaps the more medical or scientific minded reader would find this more interesting.