SVK is a comic created by writer Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan), artist D’Israeli (2000 AD), and the design studio BERG.  SVK is described as an experimental comic because parts of the story are printed in ultraviolet (UV) ink.  Using the UV ink sounds like a gimmick but it really is not.  The way the UV ink is used is integral to the storytelling.   You get a “SVK object” with the comic.  The SVK object is an UV flashlight that you use to read the material printed in UV ink.  SVK is a well written piece of speculative fiction that offers a unique comic reading experience.

SVK is an espionage story set in the city of Westminster.  Thomas Woodwind is hired by a corporation called Heimdall Security Solutions which has ties to the British government.  A prototype of a Heimdall product called SVK is lost and Thomas is to discretely recovery the device.  The device is small and is held in a case the size of a business card but a little thicker.  It is marked with the letters SVK.  Thomas is only supposed to find and return the device.  He is not supposed to open the case.  But, of course, he does open it.

The comic is not about the quest to locate the SVK device.  It is about the discovery of what SVK is and does.  SVK is the logical evolution of Big Brother.  The concept of what SVK is used for is not new.  However, how it is implemented is a very interesting idea.

The portions printed in UV ink demonstrate what the world is like for a user of the SVK device.  Thomas discovers what the SVK device does by using it.  To experience what Thomas experiences, the reader has to become a “SVK user” as well by using the SVK object to see the material printed in UV ink.  Coincidentally, the SVK object happens to be the size of a business card but a little thicker.

The story written by Warren Ellis is very well crafted.  Small talk and conversations that seem to contain benign information is actually relevant for things that happen in the latter part of the story.

The art by D’Israeli is clean and detailed.  There are a couple of action sequences in the book that are very well drawn.  The comic is coloured in tones of black and blue.

I only have one minor complaint and it is with the UV flashlight.  The battery does not last very long.  I found the light getting dimmer and dimmer near the end of the story.  The battery is not replaceable either.  It is probably more practical to buy your own UV flashlight.  Or read the comic in a night club that has black light.

SVK is a 40 page comic book available via mail order only.  It is rather expensive.  The comic costs £10 plus shipping and handling.  To have it shipped to Canada, the total cost was $30.  You can order the comic here.

It was sent to me via Royal Mail (the regular UK mail service).  The package was very well protected.  The “SVK object” was in bubble wrap. The comic was in a bag with a board.

SVK is the product of people thinking outside the box.  They had a story to tell and came up with a creative way to tell it that sets their comic book apart from the rest.