Bertrand Russell, who wrote the Principia Mathematica and who influenced Wittgenstein's later work in the field, is a perfect character for readers to get introduced to the complexites of the ideas in the book. The authors (who are also characters in the book) start out simply enough -- they show us a young "Bertie" Russell, the orphaned boy. Ruled by a domineering grandmother who uses faith as a bludgeon to keep the boy in line, Russell spends much of his early life looking for some kind of certainty in his lonely life. The precision of mathematics and logic seem to provide this certainty, although Russell is soon plagued by gaps in what is known about the field. The reader follows the maturing Russell as he collaborates (and occasionally confronts) the best minds in Europe on issues like set theory, infinity, and the limits of logic. At the same time, we see parts of Russell's life, and watch as he slowly realizes that logic cannot solve his own problems or those of a world that is hurtling toward another war.
The story covers decades on Russell's life, and introduces a host of characters. This is where the graphic novel format really shines -- despite the density of the subject, the format of the book keeps you engaged (and the handy appendix in the back keeps you from forgetting who's who). This book is great for anyone who's interested in the history of math, the life of Russell, or who just wants something different. Logicomix is a nonfiction tale that is like nothing else out there.