Written by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon
Art by Becky Cloonan
A while back, I skipped reading The Umbrella Academy, the first series by Gerard Way, because all I knew about him was that he's in a band I'd heard of but never (knowingly) listened to. Later, I went back to that series because of the art by Bá and Moon, and discovered it to be strange and rather wonderful.
Now, he has a new series with wonder-artist Becky Cloonan and co-writer Shaun Simon, and I was not going to miss out again. On Free Comic Book Day there was a preview of this series, which intrigued me but didn't make a whole lot of sense. This first issue makes things more clear, but there is still a lot to be explained.
We know that Battery City is not a fun place. It looks like it's run by a company called Better Living Industries, and that it employs Scarecrows and Draculoids to keep the peace. The Scarecrows look like astronauts (of course), while the Draculoids are created by putting a white mask over a victim.
Outside of Battery City, in an area that used to be protected by a superhero team known as the Killjoys, people seem to live in resistance to BLI. We meet a young girl who was a companion to the super-team (in fact, they saw her as some sort of messiah). She meets a group of rebels, who are quickly found by BLI, and stuff happens.
There is a lot of material in this book, as Way and Simon work hard to establish the strangeness of their vision of the future. The main story hasn't really started yet, I don't think, but the issue stays interesting throughout, as the reader tries to piece everything together. I'll need to give this a second read to really absorb anything.
Becky Cloonan's art is fantastic, but then we knew that it would be. She's great at this kind of dystopian story that uses some aspects of the superhero aesthetic, but is not strictly grounded in it. This book feels a lot more serious than Umbrella Academy did, and I'm very curious to see where it leads.