Sky Doll, Vol. 1 collects part 1-3 of the continuing series: The Yellow City (2000), Aqua (2002), and The White City (2006). A high fantasy, sci-fi epic, Sky Doll takes place in an imaginary futuristic world which draws its roots from European society, including Roman Catholic and political influences. The story serves as a critique of religious corruption through the ever increasing commercialization of faith, as well as religion's deepening involvement in the political arena. It also contains feminist theory as a major theme, as its protagonist, a android sex doll named Noa, quite literally represents the sexual objectification of women.
As a female sex doll, Noa exists with the sole purpose of satisfying the sexual urges of whoever demands it. She and her fellow dolls are owned and solicited by a boss who fancies himself as God. Is he? No, not even close, but he uses his absolute authority over his dolls to make himself fell more important than he actually is. It's a flaw that defines a number of characters throughout the story; as they say, "absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Sexuality is a major focal point of the story, as the religion the people in this saga practice is meant to be a balance between two primary forces: spiritual enlightenment (represented by the Papess Agape) and carnal desire (represented by the Papess Lodovica). However, in the absence of Agape, corruption and deception spread, leaving those who seek true spirituality feeling lost and hollow. Without Agape's spirituality depth, followers of Lodovica are left to their baser instincts and debauchery becomes a religious standard.
The clearest message this graphic novel can convey is that moderation in all areas of life: sex, faith and politics is key to building a better life and a better society. It raises the question where have the Martin Luther Kings, Mother Teresas and Mahatma Gandhis gone and why have we been left with the Pat Robertsons and Harold Campings of the world in their place? Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa have created a masterpiece, rendering exquisite artwork and literary prose which prompts critical thinking. This is a must read.