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Friendo 5: That’s how the world ends; Not with a bang, but with a gasoline-fuelled fire in the desert.

Friendo 5

Writer- Alex Paknadel

Illustrator- Martin Simmonds

Colours- Dee Cunnifee

Letters- Taylor Esposito

Publisher- Vault comics


Friendo 5 finishes up with a burning conclusion. It’s a conclusion that was the only option for Leo in the end. Still, writer Alex Paknadel finds a way to shock us to the core.

The thing about Friendo is that it was never going to be a happy ending. It wasn’t actually a happy beginning or middle either. The series starts with Leo purposefully getting into a car wreck with the aim to make a few bucks and claim his stake of the fame pie. As the series rockets forward Leo finally gets what he always wanted; but his fame costs an incredible price, and it’s one he pays over and over.

Friendo has been one of the most eye-opening and important comics I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Everyone involved in this comic has made something that will resonate so deeply with so many readers concerning the ubiquitous hold that tech and big corp has over us all.

Technological infiltration

Whether or not we would willingly admit it, technology has infiltrated our lives in a big way. In many ways this is an incredible move forward. However, our reliance on technology, our need for the latest and greatest gadgets, the burning desire to be famous for.. just being famous, has rapidly grown and what is the cost? Tech we can’t afford, that just uses us, uses us to help build the AI, uses our information to make money, actually listens to conversations, to sell us things (that it makes us think we need). And… we pay for the privilege.

Poor poor Leo

Leo goes through the ringer over and over again, watching his descent into something subhuman is both alarming and fascinating. We know that he didn’t have the greatest start in life but he is a generally pretty unlikable guy; he is selfish, consumerist, money hungry and pretty callous. Let’s get real we all know someone like Leo, maybe more then someone, just another reason why Friendo resonates so much.

We could be Leo soon, or it could be your mother or your boyfriend. One day they are excited for their new phone, the next? Well, you’ll have to read the series to see what could happen…

visceral yet appealing

The impeccable visuals crafted by Martin Simmonds, Dee Cunnife and Taylor Esposito ramp Alex’s twisted tale to a whole other levels, to a whole other SOLAR SYSTEMS! The juxtaposition between the brash, bold colours and full frontal violence is unsettling but so inline with the Friendo brand and message. The harsh lines and (sometimes hard to look at) imagery really rams home that this is not a dystopian future; This is a very real and probably very likely reality.

Final Thoughts

have been honoured to receive an advanced copy of Friendo, issue on issue, and to put together previews and reviews. The Friendo team are ones to watch. It brings me incredible joy and sadness to be wrapping up this review series. Incredible joy for getting to ride along on this terrifying Technicolor journey, and incredible sadness that it is ending. However, it is not truly over. A series like Friendo will never be ‘over’ or forgotten. Not when it manages to smash straight into your consciousness like a massive splinter and stays there. Wedged in, a bit itchy, and uncomfortable.

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