Written by: Neil Davies, Special to CC2K
If this is counter-culture then please, counter-me out.
Writer: Curt Pires
Artist: Jason Copland
Colors: Adam Metcalfe
The Tomorrows focuses on a group of “artistic terrorists” living in a futuristic society where personal expression is subdued, art is illegal and the government uses everyone’s online data to manipulate and control the world. This first issue, written by Curt Pires and drawn by Jason Copland, introduces Zoey as our gateway into the world of The Tomorrows. Having recently suffered a traumatic loss, Zoey gets dramatically thrust into the world of radical (as in super cool) terrorism and helps overthrow the government’s oppression.
Before explaining how little I enjoyed this comic, I feel that it’s necessary to point out what was truly remarkable about it, which was the art and colors. Jason Copland and Adam Metcalfe’s art is absolutely on point and hands-down the best thing about this book. Copland’s art evokes comics from the early 90’s, and bathes many of the panels in a dystopian neon light. The world that this artist has built is a neo-future that’s bright and hopeless with notes of Blade Runner and Akira.
This comic’s biggest problem is that it sacrifices an enjoyable plot and good storytelling in order for the author to make some kind of condescending point. The essence of good storytelling is that the reader/viewer/listener is brought along for the ride and made a part of the club. Instead, this comic is the angsty art history major who feels the need to prove that they’re better than you. The story itself is rushed, the dialogue is atrocious and the plot tries to be cool rather than develop its universe and characters.
Even though the pace of the story is extremely rushed, the story still manages to have pages worth of exposition dumping. This is one of the comic’s biggest misstep, not because it has pages of dialogue that are hard to keep up with, but it is dialogue that could have been stretched out into multiple issues of character development and compelling world building. Ironically, there is so much exposition that at one point, the comic literally points it out to the reader, yet rather than learning from its self-described mistake, it continues to pile on the exposition.
Our main villain suffers from a complete lack of nuance and seems to be an amalgamation of every rich megalomaniac in the history of James Bond films. He insists on telling the readers how evil he is through ham handed statements like, “I’m a thirty-three-year-old man with all the money in the world, a voracious drug habit, and chronic masturbatory issues.” He may as well be saying, ‘I’m so evil, because look how evil I am.’
The heroes themselves couldn’t be less likable. Our first encounter with one of The Tomorrows doesn’t tell you his name or explain what’s going on. He just shows up, spouts an absolutely ridiculous line (“I’m Toshiro Mifune having sex with David Bowie. I’m death in a denim jacket, I am your best friend”), and our protagonist suddenly goes with him without a second thought. The rest of the heroes are without character and aren’t given opportunities to shine, beyond the ‘Look how artsy and anti-establishment I am’-type comments.
I cannot recommend this comic book. Not only is the dialogue poorly written and the plot nearly incomprehensible, it’s also wildly condescending and treats its readers as if they were mindless sheep wandering without original thought. It wants to shake the shoulders of every American citizen who has Facebook and an iPhone and scream, “Wake up sheeple!”
I think its final scene can sum up the attitude and tone of this book. Wherein, our “death in a denim jacket” “hero” broadcasts over the city’s loudspeakers, apologizes for interrupting their soda commercials and government propaganda and proceeds to tell them the much-needed “truth.” After this cringe-worthy monologue, the citizens of the streets begin to rejoice and embrace one another. All the while, the hero turns his oversized microphone on its side to dramatically drop the mic, and walk out thinking he’s some futuristic James Dean. If this is counter-culture, then please, counter-me out.
The Tomorrows #1 reaches for interesting concepts and a potentially compelling story. Unfortunately, the poor dialogue and overly rushed pace leaves the reader confused and disappointed. It makes no attempt to engage the audience, but takes a lot of opportunities to talk at, or down, to them. While I appreciate the fantastic artwork, I will stay far away from this series from here on out.
The Tomorrows #1 will be published by Dark Horse Comics and released on July 8.
1.5 out of 5.0