Think the future is a bright, shiny, and happy place? Let’s find out what Zack Kaplan and his crew say in Join the Future #2 from AfterShock Comics!
JOIN THE FUTURE #2 REVIEW
Author: Zack Kaplan
Illustrator: Piotr Kowalski
Colorist: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 10, 2020
SOLICITATION: The Future. Where ultramodern megacities flourish while rural American towns struggle to survive. After an attack by high tech mercenaries, the small community of Franklin vacates its township and starts moving its people to the city. This sends the Mayor’s strong-willed teenage daughter, Clementine Libbey, on a quest of revenge and resistance as she challenges the city’s control while clinging to her small-town principles. Come join her adventure in this sci-fi western. Come join the future.
Written by Zack Kaplan (LOST CITY EXPLORERS) with art from Piotr Kowalski (Sex, Marvel Knights: Hulk, The Dark Tower), JOIN THE FUTURE is a sci-fi western that examines a tomorrow where everyone must ask what your values are truly worth.
GRIPPING SCIENCE FICTION
Zack Kaplan is one of the very best science fiction writers around! I have enjoyed his character-driven stories from Eclipse to Port Earth and Lost City Explorers. He makes me care about the people in his futuristic tales, and his science in this fiction truly works!
His latest comic, Join the Future, focuses on a young girl who lives in a small country town that has been resisting the call of the nearby city to move in with the residents there. Clementine and her family end up paying the price of saying “no” to this not-so-subtle demand, and she’s ready to make the people pay who did this to her!
“In the future, every life is valuable,” says a leader from the city. “Send the drones. Find the girl.”
I have a profound interest in strong female lead characters, and Clementine is one of the very best I’ve ever read. She’s every bit the young woman, but she won’t let wrongs go unresolved. I like that in her—a lot!
She realizes that she can’t handle her mission alone, so she’s seeking out help in a very unlikely (or at least, hard to find) person. In this second issue of the miniseries, she sets out to enlist that assistance. She’s going to have to get past natural dangers to get it, though.
Turns out the city isn’t the pristine utopia they might like to think it could be. Yes, it’s shiny and futuristic-appearing, but there’s a dark side to it. Let’s just say that they need everyone they can get to keep things flowing smoothly there, and even Clementine’s small town is likely not enough for what the city needs. If you live nearby, look out!
The dialogue is smart and on-target, the pacing moves forward quickly. The characters live and breathe in my mind, so I’m already invested in their success. Can they make it, though? I have to know!
There are two worlds in this comic: The city and the country. Not every artist can draw both places well, but the art in this book easily transports us between the two locations. It’s interesting that the city is mostly white and bright colors while the more natural areas tend to be darker and have more subtle tones to them. In reality, life in those places are the reverse of how they appear. Nicely done.
As I always say, I evaluate a comic’s art on two levels—facial expressions and action sequences. When things move and happen, I often forget it’s a comic and feel like I’m watching a movie in my head. I feel the earth below rumble when large machines are working. I also feel the cold air when Clementine is facing natural dangers.
The best facial expressions are on Clementine’s face, and the most riveting are her expressions of shock and disbelief when the city makes sure the villagers must move in with them. Then, too, when her resolve is set, I could feel her jaw clench. You can also see the smugness in the official from the city when the machines are set on the village. I already don’t like him as a result. Very strong art all around!
BOTTOM LINE: I Hope the Future Doesn’t Win!
This comic really has me in a very different place than most science-fiction stories move me to. I want the future NOT to win for a change! I can tell you, that’s very odd for me when I’m reading science fiction. I have always felt the future is unavoidable, so we must embrace it. I want the opposite to happen in Join the Future.
I’m all in for this miniseries, and I hope this creative team can bring us many more stories in this interesting world. I want to see a lot more with these characters!
I very highly recommend this book, especially if you enjoy science fiction, strong female characters, and surprises!
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Join the Future #2