Comic Review: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

As comic publisher Dark Horse releases The Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1, and while ‘those in the know’ rejoice at the resumption of this long story saga […]

As comic publisher Dark Horse releases The Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1, and while ‘those in the know’ rejoice at the resumption of this long story saga originating in The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys from 2013, new readers like me are caught unprepared, tossed between not knowing and not knowing what we don’t know, and don’t know what to do about it. Longly stated, breathlessly unaware.

But that is always the way, isn’t it? There is seldom a ‘synopsis’ page to bring us up to speed in comics, so let’s go into the land of Wiki and dredge up a bit of back story. Writers Gerald Way and Shaun Simon get right to work in this issue #1, with Killjoy leader Mike Milligram (great name!) getting deprogrammed. He wants to get the old gang together to battle Better LIving Industries, the bad, very bad corporation that is simplifying your choices, eliminating your voices, smothering all resistance. There’s a BLI pill for what ails ya, and a pill that helps with the side effects of the first bitter pill.

Artist Leonardo Romero unveils the surroundings, the Kafka-esque visuals of giant insects, paranoia. Silent panels, strongly composed. Touching and thoughtful expressions, loads of disturbing crawling detail. Romero is good! Then, the brightly coloured (colourist Jordie Bellaire) despair, the whitewashing of the dirty laundry. The money that drifts upward to the megacorp, the European look of these comic pages, the figures.

The sheer baffling depth of the BLI intrusion into everyday life in the world of the Killjoys… consumerism gone rogue, identity shifting nefariance. It’s Big Brother in broad strokes, a stroke of genius. The gang fights, the tension, the 70s, and 80s Hot Wheels looks that kill. The smothering horror, the uniformity that covers the rot, the decay of thought, and love. Shoot first before they shoot you up!

There is a lot going on in this packaged sardine can once you pry off the lid and understand how things are fit together. The future is ours to see, and this is just the beginning of Milligram’s journey in this complex and all-encompassing miniseries.

Dark Horse, The Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1, $3.99 for 46 pages of content. Assume: Mature

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!