Surgeon X: The Path of Most Resistance

Writer and filmmaker Sara Kenney has teamed up with artist John Watkiss to create a fast-paced dystopian drama in which politicians control the medical fates of its citizenry. Surgeon X collects the first six issues of the chilling and urgent graphic series that plays against the troubled backdrop of modern times.

In 2036 London, policymakers debate antibiotics rationing in the aftermath of illnesses that have killed off nine million people. This sparks riots that pit wealthy right-wing extremists against the populace. Meanwhile, surgeon Rosa Scott quits her job at a local hospital over the disputed treatment of a seriously ill victim and her belief that "doctors should be in charge of antibiotics, not the 'Preservation Bureau.' " Together with her psychotic brother, Lewis, Rosa starts a renegade surgical practice that earns her the sobriquet Surgeon X and the scrutiny of Scotland Yard. Meanwhile, she and her family (including microbiologist twin Martha and their estranged father, John, doctor to the rich) work to solve their mother's murder. As the Scotts scurry to find new sources of antibiotics, Rosa must also grapple with her increasingly conflicted roles as a doctor and a political activist: "Extreme circumstances call for extreme medicine."

Kenney's first stab at comics shows her feeling her way around the medium in the first two chapters, but once she finds her stride, the result is a compelling story full of surprising turns and twists. Watkiss's art, particularly the close-ups, move the text seamlessly from panel to panel, conveying the bleakness of Rosa's journey with emotional resonance. Surgeon X is an intelligent and visceral work, an impressive comic that addresses many modern concerns. --Nancy Powell, freelance writer and technical consultant

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