- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Burlyman Entertainment (Nov 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1932700005
- ISBN-13: 978-1932700008
- Product Dimensions: 26.2 x 17 x 1.2 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ted McKeever's entry may be the best in the book -- the story of a woman who, when given a choice between a blue pill and a red pill, chose the blue. The Wachowskis chime in with their own story, about the robot B1-66ER, whose murder of its owner sparked the first war between humans and machines -- this story in particular tied in with The Animatrix. Neil Gaiman, one of the best writers on the planet these days, did a short story with a couple of illustrations rather than a comic book story. His tale, about a man forced to live several lives in the Matrix, plays with the nature of time the way the films play with the nature of reality. It's one of the standouts.
A couple of the stories are just so-so -- John Van Fleet and Bill Sienkiwicz, I'm afraid, didn't add too much to the world of the Matrix, but the rest of the stories are fantastic. Recommended for anyone who wants to delve deeper into this still-fascinating world.
Many have criticized the book for not expounding on the matrix and instead dwell around the foundation of the first film. This is because many of these stories were started before the first film was even released, to be used as content for the movie's website. This is a collection of many of the older stories, and only a few of the more recent comics. For example, the first story, which tells essentially the same story as "The Second Renaissance, Part 1" from the Animatrix was written well before work on any of the sequels had begun. So keep in mind that this book is primarily works based on the world of the matrix before the sequels. For those of you looking for an expansion on the sequels, you definitely should check out the entire collection for free at thematrix.com. And then look for the other volumes to follow that will collect the rest of the comics, which DO expand on what we saw in Reloaded and Revolutions and the Animatrix.
The art has been attacked as well, which is too bad since the purpose was to get more people into comics who might not normally pick one up. Even if you don't like any type of comics, I would still recommend this. Sure, a panel drawing can't capture the splendor of an elaborately choreographed fight scene, but it's not supposed to. The intention here is to tell a good story. For anyone who enjoys the occasional graphic novel, you'll definitely appreciate the collection of very talented artists and writers assembled.
Overall, I would say that while this collection doesn't collect only the best stories from the series, it does collect many of the better ones, including my 2 favorites, making it an excellent start to the books. Instead, this collection is intentionally varied in it's art and story-telling style, so that there's something here for everyone. So if you liked comics like Star Wars Tales, you'll appreciate the variety to this collection. The two outstanding stories here are "Butterfly" and "There are no Flowers in the Real World". They are not to be missed, whether you enjoyed the sequels or not.
To be honest I think there were as many mediocre stories in this book as great ones, but this is offset by the beautiful artwork and the fact that when all the comics are finally collected, it will be an amazing book collection. Since many of the best stories are still only on the website, I'm looking forward to the subsequent volumes since reading them online just doesn't compare to actually having the book in your hands.
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