THE TRUE LIVES OF THE FABULOUS KILLJOYS #1
Written by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon
Art by Becky Cloonan
Release date: June 12, 2013
The mind behind The Umbrella Academy is back with a beatnik rhythm and a science fiction, dystopian society with Killjoys. Based off the 2010 album by My Chemical Romance, this lyric infused comic by the band’s lead singer, Gerard Way, and musician Shaun Simon, paints a future ruled by a corporate overlord, B.L.I. (Better Living Industries.) From there, two diverging story lines appear: one about the war being waged by those fighting B.L.I. on the outskirts of Battery City and the tale of two androids caught up in the system inside the city itself.
Let’s be blunt, this is not a comic for all. The poetic narration of the comic is lead by an “all knowing” radio D.J. that inspires and warns those fighting against the corporation. The main character is a messianic figure known as “The Girl” and all of the original Killjoys, in the title, died trying to save her. Originally, this story was billed about a future run by vampires and robots. However, in this first issue, we see that they’re not vampires of the supernatural nature, but a product of B.L.I. We also see that the androids can be victims of the system they were created to serve. If you have not listened to the album this book is based off of, read the Free Comic Book Day introduction to this world, or done an internet search with previews and reviews, it’s not hard to see how a reader could get easily lost in the pages of the story. For those who see through the lyrical narration, there are plenty of mysteries and loose ends that hopefully are revealed as the series continues.
That being said, Becky Cloonan’s art and Dan Jackson’s colors are intoxicating. The contrasting settings are really what set this book apart. The areas outside of the city, where the resistance is being made, looks like the Sonoran Desert. You feel like a Burning Man festival could occur and any moment. You could even liken it to a cross between The Searchers and Mad Max. Meanwhile, Battery City and the droids give off a vibe of Blade Runner, except more muted. These clashing juxtapositions are heightened by Jackson’s color choice for each locale. The desert has a wide variety of colors splashed across, especially in the skies, showing the freedom that these outsiders are seeking. In the city, monotone greys and blacks bath the city, conveying the drab and downtrodden lives being lived.
Like many dystopian books, the main story is followed up by mini-articles which help to clarify plot points seen in the comic. Here they are represented with pages from B.L.I. employee manuals. Often a reader can pick and choose if they read these, but, in this case, they’re probably worth your time to read. There is nothing dramatically revealed, but they’re concisely written which keeps them from dragging the rest of the book down.
The Verdict: 8.0/10