A disappointing and jumbled foray into dystopian sci-fi from the writer of Umbrella Academy, but Becky Cloonan shines once again.
In a dystopian future, a group of rebel heroes called The Killjoys discovered a little girl who they thought might be special. Twelve years later, The Killjoys have assumed legendary status having been mostly wiped out by the corporation, Better Living Industries, who control the city and its inhabitants. The only surviving member of the Killjoys, Cherri Cola, meets up again with the Girl just as groups of young people are forming a new rebellion against the city.
While the first issue was a quite enjoyable opening, with the reader being thrown into a mysterious new world, here we find it starting to already lose its shine. There is a lot of backstory to explain which leads to a good deal of telling and not enough showing. Much of this issue involves Cherri Cola and the Girl discussing the history of The Killjoys, interspersed with various subplots that aren’t given enough time to gain our interest.
The origins of this comic in the last album and music videos by My Chemical Romance are prevalent. It reads like a rock opera. We have simplified characters with silly names, angst, occasionally overly lyrical writing and big themes. The ghost of The Who’s Tommy is never far away. The characters aren’t well defined; the rebels for instance are so far indistinguishable and most of their dialogue could be interchangeable. Cherri Cola seems to exist only to offer a choice to the Girl between peace and violence and the Girl herself seems like a normal young girl, rather than someone who has spent her childhood involved in a rebellion and then on the run alone for the past twelve years.
On the plus side, the book is very nicely designed and beautifully drawn. Becky Cloonan shows us a world of opposites, desert and city, each equally inhospitable, though Cloonan is at home in both. She is a rising star and is better than the material she is given here.
There is still time for this book to turn around and get better. In some ways it is quite entertaining, it’s just that similar books like Saga and East of West are doing this dystopian sci-fi thing a lot better.
Gerard Way (W), Shaun Simon (W), Becky Cloonan (A) • Dark Horse Comics, $3.99, July 10, 2013.