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Genocide Man is a story liberally peppered with problems. The finale, thanks to upheavals in the creator's personal life, feels unfinished and doesn't quite tie up all the story threads as neatly as I would like. Some characters, such as Dahnai, feel almost superfluous, for instance, since they drop out of the narrative never to return after having only minimal impact. Some character traits and aspects are clunkily retconned partway through. And one character's sad, last-minute heel turn does put a bit of a sour taste in the mouth.
Nonetheless, it's still genuinely great art. Visually, both artstyles it utilizes during its run work well, both the cartoonier older style and the more-realistic later one, making the characters expressive and showing off gruesome and wonderful action beats. It manages to balance both cinematic language and the strengths of its static-image medium wonderfully. And those action scenes look great, both small and large-scale.
Story-wise, I want to take a moment to applaud its wonderfully-expressive tone. It wonderfully combines dark and gloomy subject matter and brooding characters with genuinely hilarious moments of humor, both traditional and black. And this is actual Black Comedy, not edgy Dead Baby Comedy. Horrible onscreen death is almost never the actual punchline to a joke.
And the characters are wonderful, often heartbreakingly human. Some are flatter than others (Joey and Kevin in particular play their villainous archetypes pretty damn pat), but even the flat ones have charisma, and the deeper ones are a treat. Jacob, in particular, could be a dull, dry, dour Frank Castle-like figure in lesser hands, but instead he has the whole breadth of life in him. Regret, laughter, a few moments of romance that never went anywhere, but also lots of moments of heroism to be proud of mixed in among the mass-murder, he makes eloquent defenses of his way of life and his organization's goals as readily as he has to watch them go wrong.
I also like the setting. It does a good job of splitting the difference between dystopic and just... life. It's not a great place to live, but it doesn't sound that much worse than the modern day in some ways either, given what's going on around the world outside of my backyard. Just because people have access to these new technologies doesn't stop them being human.
I don't agree with all the philosophies characters articulate during the narrative, but I don't get the sense I'm supposed to. I'm just supposed to think, like good thought-provoking art should, well, provoke. And while I wish it'd gone in different directions as it went on, it doesn't completely fall apart so badly that I can't recommend Genocide Man without reservation, as a story, as a work of science fiction, and as a piece of thought-provoking entertainment that sacrifices neither to the other.
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