10.28.2013

The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys #5 [Make Some Noise!]

The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys #5 (Dark Horse): This book is so pretty it’s just stupid. It’s easy to heap praise on Becky Cloonan’s inimitable art, when she’s probably turning in the art of her career to date on this very book, but I think a large portion of the aesthetic success of Killjoys should also be laid at the feet of colorist Dan Jackson. For the last decade or two, when you talked about truly excellent coloring in comic books, you were basically limited to the talents of people like Dave Stewart or Laura Martin. Recently, a new wave of colorists has taken the sequential art world by storm, which has included people like Dean White and Jordie Bellaire. I firmly believe it’s now time to put Dan Jackson in this category. There’s a post-pop glee to his work, channeling all the strength of someone like Michael Allred, but without most of the kitschy humor, and full of earnest gravitas instead.

There’s something so PKD about this issue’s dalliance with the crisp prophecy in the #GraffitiBible about manga-esque super-robot Destroya coming back to free the android underclass held down by the BLI power monopoly in Battery City. The quintessential rebellion against oppression that Gerard Way and Shaun Simon are writing is a struggle that’s authentically an American virtue. That's it, that's Killjoys in a nutshell, distilled down to its core components: rock n' roll and rebellion. Ultimately, reviews are about giving the audience advice. At this point, we’re 5 issues into a 6 issue mini-series, so if you’re not enjoying Killjoys by now, there’s likely little I can say to sway your opinion and move the sales needle. But, I’ll still proffer the ideal set up because, oh, maybe you’ll pick up the trade eventually. Find the crunchiest music you have, for me Guster or Four Star Mary usually does the trick, anything with that full-throated rasp, noisy guitar feedback, and record-scratching needle signature, and sit down with The Fabulous Killjoys for the thrill ride.

Dracs and Scarecrows are still roaming the wasteland searching for escaped porno droids, with Val Velocity’s crew and DJ Cherri Cola partying, wherein “party” means a death disco fight for your life. “I drink juice when I’m killing… ‘cuz it’s fucking delicious.” That’s a call to arms that essentially means live in the moment when you’re fighting for tomorrow. Becky Cloonan’s action sequences are smart, she pulls the camera back at the right intervals to give scenes context, yet knows when to zoom into the close-ups for emotional punch. Meanwhile, Korse’s fate, in that there’s something “wrong” with him that needs to be “fixed,” is a great callback to 1980’s Margaret Thatcher style regimes that spawned some of the great modern works like V For Vendetta, reactionary response pieces to extreme conservative social reforms. The book ends with a flashback to The Analog Wars, touching on both the FCBD short that preceded the series, and the “Girl” as an archetypal “chosen one” as a literary device that’s framing the series up for a rousing showdown that will likely put all forces on a collision course trajectory. There’s still a couple pages of backmatter too. Killjoys is the book with the greatest thematic action hook of our time, undoubtedly one of the books of the year. Grade A+.

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