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Jul 17, 2013

ARTICLE: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #2 Review

In the second issue of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, writers Shaun Simon and Gerard Way continue to build upon the world they created in last month's debut. But while the sleek, futuristic Battery City and its surrounding wild wasteland feel viscerally real, the characters who inhabit the world aren't nearly as fleshed out.

Simon and Way waste no time on silly things like introductions. Just like last month, we're thrown into the middle of the narrative, and for quite a few pages, it feels like we're missing some critical detail that will make the whole thing click into place. While authorial hand holding is its own sin, it would be nice to given a bit more detail into the "true lives" of these characters. As it stands, we're given little reason to emotionally invest in the story of the Killjoys or the young girl who has found a home with them. Way and Simon sprinkle character details sparingly and seem more concerned with world building.

And what a world it is. It's tempting to overlook the loosely sketched out characters in favor of the rich, dystopian mythology of the Killjoys. Last month, I pointed out the clever references to seminal sci-fi films like Blade Runner, but the more we get to know the world of the Killjoys, the more it begins to skew towards the narrative complexity of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (particularly when it comes to the society-controlling headsets the citizens of Battery City are required to don).

Artist Becky Cloonan is instrumental in making the world of the Killjoys as bleak and believable as it is. There's a cartoonish feel to some of her figures, and the visual playfulness contrasts with the menace laced through each page. It's telling that her androids seem more human than her humans (and a fitting homage to Mr. Dick).

Hopefully, the coming issues will see the people who populate the world of the The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys become as well-developed as their environment. Way, Simon, and Cloonan are on the brink of something brilliant, even if they haven't hit it quite yet.


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