Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Eryk Donovan
Memetic #3 by James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan closes out their excellent but short mini-series about a meme that spreads literally like a virus infecting all who see it causing essentially the end of the world as we know it. It’s no easy task to create a compelling and fresh take on the apocalypse but the creators have done so with a not-so-subtle jab at our obsession with digital media and its lemmings effect.
MA devastated Aaron is distraught after losing his partner to the epidemic but finds hope in a little girl’s voice on his radio. Aaron’s life especially has been turned upside down with loved ones and acquaintances falling under the deadly spell of the smiling sloth. The mysterious visual stimulus causing them euphoria then zombie-like aggression then finally a catatonic state that draws them like cattle to disrobe and join the others.
Elsewhere, Marcus and his team keep searching for the creator of the meme that started it all. It’s been an exhausting and dangerous trek and there’s no guarantee that the meme can be stopped or reversed. What they find isn’t exactly what they expected or were prepared for. The Maker is not shy about his deadly handy work but the reasons behind it aren’t so clear.
In three short days the lethal mind-altering meme has turned regular people around the world into blood-crying zombies. It’s a story that mocks and exaggerates our own obsession with popular social memes, videos, and celebrities. Sure it may not cause us to kill one another but we can become a slave to such shared trivialities.
The more important relevant things in life, even the darker wages of war, crime, and injustice take a backseat to the newest, silliest viral trend on social media. It’s a grumpy feline, a booty-shaking video, some kind of challenge be it cinnamon or ice water that distracts us from the cold realities of life. For a moment, the shared community of voyeurs find amusement, some euphoria from some inane thing that draws a smile. It’s innocent enough but still an embarrassing mark of collective group thinking.
That’s the damning undertone of Memetic that we are sheep to pop culture and it could lead to our doom. It may sound ridiculous but Tynion does a wonderful job of using Aaron as our surrogate, the reluctant unaffected viewer, who finally gives in as a means to live on as an insider. He finds acceptance in a world that requires complicity in every way. It is our death sentence of uniformity that will free us of our will yet demolish our individuality.
At least that’s our interpretation.
Tynion coupled with Donovan’s great art have created a wonderfully dark succinct moral lesson. It’s not remotely subtle but perhaps that the point. It’s expertly executed and ended on a purposely nebulous note. Have we lost our humanity in the digital age? Memtic #3 is an exciting ending to a stellar miniseries.