In The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #2, the conditioning that has wiped memories of the Killjoys begins to fade, revealing a dystopian nightmare built on the backs of the people. Can the Fabulous Killjoys shake off the conditioning? Find out in your latest might Major Spoilers review!
THE TRUE LIVES OF THE FABULOUS KILLJOYS: NATIONAL ANTHEM #2
Writers: Gerard Way & Shaun Simon
Artist: Leonardo Romero
ColoristL: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Editor: Daniel Chabon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: November 11th, 2020
Previously in The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem: The death of former Killjoy Mike Milligram unveiled a world shorn of beauty and quirkiness, filled with corporate drones living a mindless 9-5 job. But when reality starts to unwind, former members of the Killjoys begin to emerge to question their faulty memories.
An action packed issue of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #2 unfolds as the newly awakened Mike reaches out to his former Killjoy colleague, Sophia. Filled with bravura action sequences, callbacks to 1990s pop culture, and featuring a dystopian future that sends chills down your spine, this issue covers many bases as Mike’s question continues.
Not everything is as it seems, as the mind control evident in the first issue continues to impact on the lives of the former Killjoys. Indeed, it plays a central part in this issue, as the forces of the government, skull headed individuals who the mind conditioning hide behind bland faces of authority, chase down Mike to a meeting with former Killjoy Sophia.
Gerard Way and Shaun Simon cleverly, and topically, examine the perniciousness of the mind control through the frame of Black Lives Matter. A teacher, Max, a former Killjoy, begins his class talking about civil rights activist, Rosa Parks. The class ends, however, with Max trying to understand why his history book talks of Rosa Parks as a doctor, and not the famed protestor against systemic governmental racism. It is a powerful moment in The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #2 that shows the series isn’t just a riff on pop culture and pop art, but a deeper examination of the crushing weight of government on individual freedom.
The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #2 is more than that, of course. It is also an action packed ride, especially during a pivotal car chase sequence where the authorities descend on Mike. The open road becomes a battlefield under Leonardo Romero’s stellar art, with shootouts, explosions, and Mike’s fierce grin of enjoyment and triumph ending an exciting encounter. The cerebral and the visceral come fully into play in the issue, neatly balanced against each other in a cathartic explosion.
There’s a really feeling of the 60s pop art in The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #2 – the dialogue feels bright and breezy in places, and the art itself is laden with imagery and content. There’s a evident sense of pace in Romero’s use of panels, as he moves the story along with skill and verve. You get that sense in the opening, which flashes back to the 90s, where Sophia talks about getting pregnant to Mike, while another flashback embedded in this sequence suggests that Mike’s affections lie in a different direction. These sombre moments, amid the flash and glitter of the exciting life of the superhero, that gives The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #2 a greater weight than the material might otherwise deserve.
BOTTOM LINE: COMPELLING
The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #2 carries off where it began, broadening out the world of the Killjoys, demonstrating the hold the government has over them and the people. This is a world of dead eyed commercialism, where authority over the people is achieved within the static gaze of the television. It is also a story of individual freedom in search of release, and the costs of seeking it out.
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The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #2
Compelling art and some fine storytelling mark The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #2 as an issue, and a series, to jump into pronto. The excitement of the action sequences is matched by the slow reveal of the nightmare world the former Killjoys inhabit. We get a taste of the dystopia surrounding them, and a sense that toppling it will involve great sacrifice.