Friday, June 14, 2013

Brand New Feature: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

by Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, Becky Cloonan

No longer needing to hide from his claim to fame, Gerard Way has combined his music career and his love of comics into this new story, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, from Dark Horse Comics. Originally doing his best to separate the two so as to let his first work, The Umbrella Academy, rest on its own merits, Way is now presenting a story that is also the basis for My Chemical Romance's final album, Danger Days. The story is dense, and like Brian K. Vaughan's Saga, it drops readers in this new world, filled with a lot of unfamiliar elements and language. Ultimately, this first issue is pretty well handled and the art is incredibly lively.

For those familiar at all with the concept running through the band's last album, or has seen either of their two music videos, a good portion of this story will fall into place quickly. For everyone else, the general premise is that there exists a corporation that has the run of things. How far their reach extends is unclear, but due to the fact that we pick up over a decade since their take over and rebels have not just left for another location is telling. BLi, otherwise known as Better Living Industries, are a group that feeds on its citizens and has complete control over the city. The undertones speak of uniformity versus individualism, where the bad guys even dress in simple black and white, and the rebels are noticeable by their flaunting of bright colors. BLi has control of Battery City, while the factions of civilians who stand opposed live out in the desert.

Twelve years ago, four rebels who called themselves the Killjoys, were taken out by agents of BLi. Draculoids, who seem to be the foot soldiers, are sometimes accompanied by more threatening agents called SCARECROWS. Our lead character was just a child and according to legend, was believed to be some kind of savior by this radical group. Now a teenager, she is fending for herself out in the desert. In the opening issue, the girl meets up with a group known as the Ultra Y's and they all look as though they are out of some punk rock underbelly. They get into a firefight with a few Draculoids, and through the fallout, readers learn a lot, including how these rebels cope with loss, the real dynamic of the two sides and even some other elements of the sleaziness that goes on in Battery City.

A lot of the story is narrated by a man named Doctor Death Defy, who speaks in rhymes and narrates by way of pirate radio broadcast to keep those outside the city informed. Readers learn just what happens when a civilian is strapped with a Draculoid mask and in the end, BLi may have finally found the main hideout of these rebels, known as The Nest.

Killjoys is a pretty cool story. They art is quite obviously from Becky Cloonan. Her style and character depictions are consistent with previous work. Fans of Scott Pilgrim will definitely enjoy this book based on the visuals alone. While the story comes sourced from an album, there is no need to have any familiarity with the band or that album to enjoy this first issue. Though it can be simplified as a punk rock tale, the imagination and all of the little particulars that fill out the world show the depth of story telling here. This is not simply an anti-establishment story with nothing to say but "screw the system." Those elements do exist, but Killjoys looks to have a better head on its shoulders.

Writing: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment