The future is bulletproof, the aftermath is secondary.
And the future is here.
After all, today marks the release of the much-anticipated The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys from Dark Horse comics. Written by Eisner Award winner Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, and with art by the amazing Becky Cloonan, the title has been teased since 2009 and is finally arriving in our dirty little hands.
So, I know you’re wondering, has the wait been worth it? Has our loyalty during our 4 year wait for Way’s return to comics (you know, while he was busy with that band of his) been rewarded?
Well, you’re gonna have to be the judge of that. But I sure as hell feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.
Of course, I’ve been following the Killjoys story since the 2010 My Chemical Romance album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. The first two music videos from the album set the scene for the comic, showing us the Killjoys themselves as well as their adversaries at Better Living Industries. It introduced the post-apocalyptic world, the idea of resistance against corporate control and lead antagonist Korse, played by a frock-coat clad Grant Morrison.
I can’t vouch for how well you’ll be able to follow the story without the video background, but luckily this is an easy problem to solve. Here, I’ll solve it for you RIGHT NOW:
Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
Killjoys #1 picks up years after the events of “Sing” and that’s where I’ll leave it plot-wise. I will say that the writing is strong, though like many first issues the pacing seems a bit off (this was a complaint I had with Way’s first Umbrella Academy series as well, to be fair). There’s plenty of intrigue and enough teased but not spelled out to keep you reading through issue #2, and new elements able to be introduced in the comic format, including a look at some seemingly spiritual beliefs in the Zones (in a very appropriately Grant Morrison-meets-Mad Max sort of way) and the long-promised grey morality of the two opposing factions.
Cloonan’s art hits it home. She’s able to make a desolate desert setting absolutely rich in-panel as well as portray the feel of the sort of rebellion the characters portray: it’s fun and games and it’s also deadly. The feel in some ways reminds you of Jamie Hewlett’s Tank Girl (a pretty obvious influence on the series as a whole), but remains firmly Cloonan’s work.
So, now that I’ve pretty much fallen all over myself praising it, do I have anything else to say? Well, yeah. As much as I loved the first issue, and I wanna stress that I did, I do reserve some concerns for the series. First of all, there’s an included element of sex work in the book: two robotic prostitutes are introduced. This is a trope that’s very easy to be exploited or just in general poorly used and I’m hoping Way and Simon steer it in a better direction than most.
My other concern comes from something Way said in an interview with USA Today. While talking about why the story focuses on the character of The Girl, he said “…because that was the message I wanted to convey: This is basically any young woman’s story.” While I applaud Way’s use of a female protagonist in an eagerly awaited title, I have to say that a male writing team telling “any young woman’s story” raises some red flags. Not that I think it will be bad, not that I think they SHOULDN’T, but the fact is that neither Way nor Simon has LIVED a young woman’s story and it speaks to the continued issues in the comic industry that a woman’s story has to be told by a guy. No matter what, Way will be telling the story from the experience of a friend, husband and/or father, not from the experience of being a teenage girl.
Also, while I’m loathe to mention it because I know I’m asking for trouble, I have to say: I really hope “any young woman’s story” doesn’t involve a 30-year-old celebrity bragging about calling her the c-word online via his Twitter profile.
Long story short: grab a copy of Killjoys today. It’s the start to what promises to be a great series with depth and storytelling or at least a lot of laser gun fights. Hopefully, both!
Ashly is an IHO Geek contributing writer who will die with her mask on if she’s got to. You can find her on Twitter @newageamazon