Currently in the midst of an already-successful Kickstarter campaign that’s 199% funded at the time of writing, the third volume of Tales from the Interface is my first exposure to Emmanuel Filteau’s blackly comic sci-fi universe.

Taking place in a hellish, post-apocalyptic (or, in-universe, ‘post-clypse’) city in which social class is determined by the time spent in a virtual world called The Interface, the third volume is a dark journey into the dystopian world, where extra lives are assigned to each citizen (for a limited number of resurrections, in a neat, video game-esque touch) and free lives can even be earned – for a price. There are shades of Futurama’s undercity and even echoes of Mega City One, with a clear divide between the haves and have-nots meaning that life is both cheap and often short for those at the bottom of the ladder.

Filteau’s artwork is brilliantly detailed and packed full of clever references – one incidental detail that particularly stood out and provoked a chuckle was the presence of a pair of citizens very closely resembling Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. His art style felt similar in its level of detail to Geof Darrow’s, though Filteau’s blackly comedic sensibilities with matter-of-fact gore and nudity (that never feels gratuitous) sets it apart and gives his visuals a unique feel.

Though I hadn’t read the previous volumes, I never felt as if I couldn’t work out what was going on or where I’d happened to find myself over the course of the third volume; the worldbuilding is helped immensely by the level of detail and expository dialogue which never feels clumsy or unnecessary; the inhabitants of the world are just as in the dark as to its history as the reader. Fans of 2000AD and other mature sci-fi comics should feel right at home in The Interface, especially given its socio-political commentary – which is never far from the surface.

It’s a great read and I’m very much looking forward to catching up with what I’ve missed in volumes one and two, as well as further visits to the bleak, but fascinatingly detailed world that Emmanuel Filteau has created.

You can back Tales from the Interface No. 3 on Kickstarter here.

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