24Seven is a cool new anthology collection that avoids the standard clichés of anthology comics. It contains 35 different stories by over 50 different creators. You might think, based on the clichés, that this book follows the standard rule for anthologies: some stories would be good, some bad, most mediocre. But you would be wrong. 24Seven is a genuine surprise for me, an anthology collection that contains far more good stories than bad, and which features some really interesting art and stories.
One of the things that really works with this collection is that the stories have a cohesive theme. All 35 stories take place in the city of “NYC Mech”, which imagines a New York City inhabited completely by robots. There are robot musicians, robot firemen, robot family men, robot rappers, robot criminals, even robot pigeons and dogs. Each creator’s interpretation of the city is unique – each person’s idea of NYC Mech is different from the next person – but that concept somehow fits a city like New York. The Big Apple is so large and so diverse in real life that it’s not too far of a stretch to imagine the worlds of each of the people in these stories coexisting with each other; in the same way that one neighborhood is often right next to a completely different neighborhood.
I think each reader will find different things to enjoy in a book like this. For instance, I thought Jonathan Davis and Tony Moore’s “Fear and Loathing in NYC” was darkly hilarious, while other readers might find it a bit dark. “The Honesty of Machines” by Frank Beaton and Ben Templesmith is also a standout story, a clever mafia yarn that somehow manages to get to the heart of its main character in only eight pages. “The Guts” by Phil Hester and Mike Huddleston, meanwhile, is a nice story about drug use in the city with some really interesting surreal artwork. I think my favorite story in this collection is “The Watchmaker” by Neal Shaffer and Ryan Brown, a clever tale about loneliness in the big city.
Other interesting stories include: a two-pager with art by Gary Amano, Rick Remender and Paul Azaceta’s clever “I love Livin’ In the City”, which is about a group of friends out clubbing one night, Danijel Zezelj’s haunting “Limbo Inc.”, and “In for a Pound” by John G., Leland Purvis and Becky Cloonan, which features the misadventures of a band on tour.
There are a few stories that didn’t work for me, though. “Piranhas” by Jasen Lex and Farel Dalrymple was nice art but is plotless. Meanwhile, “Musical Differences” by Miles Gunter and Paul Lau just left me completely cold.
Editor Ivan Brandon deserves a lot of credit for delivering such a terrific anthology. I was amazed by the quality and diversity of work in 24Seven. Most of the time the clichés are true that anthologies are very hit or miss, but there were very few bad stories in this anthology. It was cool reading something like 35 different variations on a theme – that concept made everything seem cohesive and gave the book a tightness that I completely didn’t expect. I thought 24Seven was terrific.