The Iron Heel

Fiction - Graphic Novel/Comic
174 Pages
Reviewed on 12/28/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Bix Santana is a nom de plume, a play on bhikshatana, Sanskrit, literally, "beggar's body". The Iron Heel is the author's first graphic novel project.

Bix lives in a prime western location on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevadas.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Iron Heel is an exciting and visually stunning graphic novel written by author Bix Santana and illustrated by Ryan Gutierrez. Focusing on radical social change in a future world seven centuries from now, this thrilling, dark sci-fi tale tells the story of a society threatening to collapse as a new world order looms on the horizon. Caught in the crossfire of this changing world is Anthony Meredith, a typical noir cynical hero whose primary job is to create virtual entertainment stories to keep the masses quiet. But when Meredith is pulled into the rebellion against the elites, he discovers the true exploitation underlying the current system and sets about a method to ignite the fire of revolution across the world.

I loved this story to bits. There are so many references to excellent and intelligent political science fiction of the past, for example the parallels between Huxley’s ‘feelies’ and the ‘verties’ that Meredith creates, as well as the more modern story lines of classics like The Matrix. Bix Santana weaves these old tropes into a powerful new form, delivering a fresh and exciting world that reflects our own in terms of the temptation of corruption and the power of rebellion against it. This is accompanied by Ryan Gutierrez’s stunning illustrative work, which brings the emotive elements of the characters to life and the noir setting of the world to its fullest, most sinister potential. Overall, The Iron Heel will appeal to V For Vendetta style revenge and revolution fans. A lavish must-read for the graphic novel genre.

Amy Raines

The Iron Heel by Bix Santana and Ryan Gutierrez is a graphic novel based in a futuristic Earth that is now divided into unions founded by elite and royal families. Anthony Meredith gets caught up in a whirlwind of lies, deception, cruelty and slavery. Meredith is led to an underground city where rich and royal people come together to use the world's remaining resources to further enhance their own world of luxuries. Meredith has been given a white book that holds secrets from both the past and present that could bring on a revolution and send the world as they know it crashing into ruin.

The Iron Heel is a well laid out, artistic graphic novel set in the distant future. The plot is a wild ride through the twisted underbelly of democracy, bureaucracy, exploitation and revolution. The characters are very well thought out and planned with unique personalities and characteristics that allow the reader to delve into this new world and get caught up in the rebellion with them. The images are very vivid, graphic, artistic and absolutely amazing with details that tell the story just as well as the words on the page. I recommend this book because I have personally never been interested in graphic novels or a lot of science fiction and fantasy, but The Iron Heel has successfully amended that notion. I love the amount of thought, effort, creativity and action Santana and Gutierrez have put into this wonderful book and I hope to see plenty more graphic novels like The Iron Heel.

Christian Sia

The Iron Heel by Bix Santana is a powerful science fiction story with a setting 700 years in the future, a tale with an unusual protagonist, the distraught and cynical Anthony Meredith. Meredith owns and operates an advanced esoteric machine that allows those who weave stories to create what is known as the “vertie,” virtual realities that distract the masses and keep them away from their own reality. Malcontents have stolen an encrypted document that has powerful secrets and could sink the current World Order. Meredith finds himself embroiled in a fight he never negotiated for and pulled into an underground city where the privileged and the strong lord over the masses. Follow his adventures as he faces vicious enemies and sets off a bell that is about to create a global revolution.

The Iron Heel is a well-written novel with relevant social and political themes. Readers will enjoy the way the author reflects on the power struggle in this story and captures realities that resonate with our current political climate. While this novel is set in the future and with a technology that is far more advanced than what we know today, it is hugely relevant to today’s political landscape. The social and political commentaries that enrich the narrative are thought-provoking and incite readers to ask serious questions about contemporary capitalism. The prose is beautiful and filled with interesting neologisms. The pacing is just right, moving fast with the intensity of the action.

Bix Santana has a great gift for conflict and readers will enjoy how the different layers of conflict — psychological, interpersonal, and ideological — help to move the plot forward, and at a steady pace. While this is a work of fiction, it will speak to fans of political thrillers and readers who want to reflect on the subtleties of contemporary capitalist regimes. Who really owns the power? The people or the select few who ensure they stay in their misery?

Ruffina Oserio

The Iron Heel by Bix Santana is a great futuristic science fiction story with strong political themes and a setting that captures the social and cultural tensions in a time of advanced technology and a vicious struggle for power. The protagonist is presented as a man filled with apathy, but as the narrative evolves, readers begin to connect with his humanity and quest for justice. Anthony Meredith operates an esoteric device that gives birth to new images that are fed to the masses, distracting them from looking at their own reality. But things change with a new awareness and a secret that has been kept for centuries being unveiled by the protagonist. What follows is a conflict that threatens the world as it is; the masses may rise up in a global revolution that is about to rout ruthless capitalism.

I loved the concept behind this novel and enjoyed how the author portrays the different segments of the society in which the story takes place. While The Iron Heel is a work of fiction, it contains deep truths about the reality of contemporary politics and demonstrates with unusual intelligence how the ruling class hypnotizes the masses and keeps them under control, exploiting them. The underground city is an element of the setting symbolic of the machinations and ploys of capitalist rule that focuses on putting power into the hands of a few. The prose is crisp and accessible and contains a lyricism of its own. The characters are well developed and I enjoyed how they evolved through the powerful conflict in this fast-paced, character-driven narrative. A novel that entertains and pushes readers to ask questions that matter about the world they live in.

Justine Reyes

Based on a Jack London novel with the same name, The Iron Heel by Bix Santana is a dystopian graphic novel with elements of cyberpunk mixed in. The story revolves around protagonist Anthony Meredith. Meredith is unlike most people in his reality; he knows how to read handwriting. A skill to some, a dangerous source of power to others. So it goes without saying that Meredith is destined for something he never asked for.

I believe it's quite important to note the vivid and gorgeous artwork of Ryan Gutierrez, David Galopim, Malcolm Burtley, and Joshua Hixson. Without these artists, The Iron Heel might have been an altogether different reading experience. The concept of The Iron Heel is something anyone would expect from a comic book, but there is literature at its core. "It's a story about our secret present. Of a new paradise hidden from sight and from imagination. A world reborn with plenty for all were it not for the chronic selfish few." This line summarizes Santana's The Iron Heel but also mirrors that of our reality in some way; most dystopian novels usually do.

Think of that what you will, one might interpret Santana's graphic novel as something economically political or one might just see it as another dystopian drama. Regardless, it's executed in a tasteful manner. Much like Jack London's The Iron Heel, Santana's narrative for Meredith is foreshadowed long before the story even starts. "Who so has not dreamed?" A brilliant little detail. I implore fans of graphic novels, comic books, and dystopian tales to take a look at Bix Santana's The Iron Heel. You won't regret it.