A hired killer is given a chance to earn absolution for her crimes, with the world as her judge, jury and executioner.

Seemingly inspired by The Running Man movie, Nina Ryan wishes to be pardoned for her sins but has to earn her atonement by pleasing a fickle audience. In essence, she has to kill bigger killers to be forgiven for her past killing. In the near future, she has bombs that were implanted in her brain, so if she disobeys they will go off, killing her. A camera is attached to her so an online audience can follow her every move, weighing in on whether her score should increase or decrease. So Nina is trapped by her audience, where every move she makes is judged. The narrative is supposed to be a moral story about society today and how the online world sucks us into living vicariously through someone else, as people make immoral choices online that they would not want others to know about. There is a news panel of talking heads, similar to Fox News, that push and pull the gullible audience into greater debauchery. The redemption of Nina comes at a cost, in a predictable ending.

Artist Mike Deodato Jr seems to be the go-to illustrator for AWA Upshot, and his work matches the tone of the story, with his gritty linework and love of grids. The coloring is appropriately dark-hued, with Nina drawn as a mohawked warrior, who is typically asexual but who can use sex appeal when needed.

AWA Upshot is a newer comic publisher that has promise, with its dark storylines but is in danger of becoming too one-note in its storytelling. While Absolution has some interesting commentary on our voyeuristic society, as a whole it doesn’t quite pull it off.