Terrorwar is a cyberpunk riff on the war on terror in our minds

Author Saladin Ahmed was tapped last summer by Substack's new comic book platform. He had previously written the Hugo- and Nebula-nominated novel Throne of the Crescent Moon, and later wrote several books for Marvel including Miles Morales and Ms. Marvel, and his new venture, The Copper Bottle, tells a variety of fantastical stories with help from a rotating group of artists.

One of those stories — sort of the main feature of the publication right now — is Terrorwar, which is a delightful cyberpunk riff on terror in all its forms, with art by Dave Acosta. The story follows Muhammed Cho, a "terrorfighter," or sort of a freelance hitman in the literal war on terror. Except in this case, the Terrors are literal manifestations of our personal greatest fears, which threaten to come to life and kill us. Being that Ahmed is a Muslim-American, and that he has not shied away from exploring that identity in his previous work, I suspect there will be some interesting thematic subversions around the way we demonize certain groups (even if they are Literal Manifestations Of Our Fears).

As of this writing, there are only 2 chapters of Terrorwar. But I was incredibly impressed with the worldbuilding that Ahmed and Acosta have been able to accomplish in a very small amount of space. With barely 20 pages done, they've still managed to introduce motifs and subvert them, all while establishing character motives and weird social rules in this sort of magical Blade Runner world where Fears come to life until they're zapped by Ghostbusters-esque pseudo-scientific gadgets. In other words: it's just a great fucking cyberpunk story, that delivers plenty of "aw hell yeah!" popcorn moments with just enough heart to carry it through.

Here's the first chapter. I'm not sure about the publication schedule, but I know I'm looking forward to more.