The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #1
Script by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon
Art by Becky Cloonan
Colors by Dan Jackson
Letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Designer Tony Ong
Dark Horse Comics
Chapter 1: Whatever gets you through the night.
“Once upon a time there was a little girl much beloved by a team of heroes called the Killjoys. They swore to protect her. And then a bloody battle broke out between the evil empire of Battery city and these rebels of the desert. The Killjoys died. The girl lived.”
Story opens with the Girl with no name waking up in the middle of the desert outside of Battery City. She’s spent the night sleeping in a Better Life Industries body bag. The BLI body bags are used to store and protect the bodies of rebels from the harshness of the deserts climate. The BLI are the evil corporation that pretty much dominates Battery City. They make everything and have control over all. The Girls radio is tuned to a pirate station. The Dr. Death Defying show is broadcasting. The girl with no name makes her way to a motel where there’s a grocery store. There she comes across a mask that used to belong to former Killjoy’s leader, Poison.
She’s being watched by Vaya and Vamos, two members of the super group the Ultra V’s. They recognize her and Poison’s mask. Upon exiting the store she is confronted by the rest of the Ultra V’s. We meet dreamy Val Velocity, the Ultra V’s leader. As He begins to talk down to the girl, Volume, another Ultra V member screams to the group that the he’s spotted some Draculoids and that they’re coming. Draculoids are BLI goons that go around forcing you to wear their mask making you another mind less zombie drone under the BLI’s control.
It’s death or the mask. And once that mask goes on the only thing that can remove it is death. The story shifts for a scene to Battery City. We meet android prostitutes Red and Blue. Blue insists that Reds too tired to walk the streets tonight and that Blue will walk in her place this evening. Blue walks the city. Its dark, lonely, broken tv sets scattered everywhere. Its everything you want a dystopian city to look like. Back to the desert, the Draculoids have two under grad Battery City refugees tied up and in custody. They’re given the choice between Death or the Mask.
The Ultra V’s show up guns blazing. The Girl with no name insists its too easy fighting Draculoids and that Scarecrows are the only thing worth her time. She stays clear and watches the fight. Scarecrows are the BLI’s other muscle, apparently higher up in the BLI ranks. A lot happens in these scenes. You get a better idea as to the character of Val Velocity and why you shouldn’t buy into his dreaminess. You get to see some of this books heart during these scenes. You realize nothing will be easy and simple here.
Next scene is Blue, the Android Prostitute with a client. Its a Scarecrow. The Scarecrow receives a call from his BLI boss and is instructed to make his way to the desert. It seems the BLI have finally located the Ultra V’s and plan on making their move on them tonight. The next page is Blue walking back home and stopping at a BLI vending machine for some Plus to take back home to Red. Plus is a drug for androids that’s used to control them. The bottom of this page is where you meet DJ Cherri Cola. Cherri Cola is cleaning up the bodies of the Ultra V’s previous run in with the Draculoids. Its a neat scene and just adds to this books mysteriousness.
The Ultra V’s and the girl arrive at the Nest. You get this Peter Pan/Lost Boys/Lord of the Flies vibe from these scenes. Its a bit unnerving and unsettling for the Girl with no name. She realizes she has to move on from this place and get far far away from these kids. Back to Battery City, primarily the headquarters of the Better Life Industries. The big bad boss is having a meeting with a squad of Scarecrows. They discuss moving in on the Nest and you get a glimpse of someone named Korse who seems like he’s the BLI’s top enforcer.
The next scene takes place back at the Nest. Again, You get more of a sense of why you shouldn’t think Val Velocity is this books knight in shining armor. There’s a scene of Dr. Death Defying doing his radio show and turning It over to Dj Cherri Cola that just adds to this stories coolness. You begin to think that Cherri Cola is gonna have a bigger role as this story progresses. The rest of the book is cut scenes building to the confrontation between Korse and his Scarecrows and the Ultra V’s. Its a solid ending to this stories introduction. You also get two pages plucked out of BLI instruction manual that explains what the body bags and Push are and how they’re used. These two pages really serve the book by answering some of its questions. Its a mystery but it so fucking cool all over that you have no time for questions and answers. You cant wait to tell your friends about it.
Way and Simon have a strong start here right out of the gate. You take it all in, enjoying every little detail they have served you up. I like the characters, the setting, the dialog, the set up, and the experience. You will want more of it. Its dense and done right with a strong sense of style. I didn’t mind having to reread it to get my foot on it. The more work I put in, the more of an experience I got out of it. Easily, off to a good start. I like all the scary nuances scattered around this comic. Its got some ideas that just stay with you. You may recognize something here or there but it just feels so damn alien and new. It takes a few readings, but this book’s ideas regarding age stay with you. You get what the writers are trying to say. You like this world. Its so worth sharing.
Becky Cloonan’s art is atmospheric in every sense of the word. You feel like you’re there. You marvel at Cloonan’s ability to capture the charm of all the simple things. Her rendering of masks, objects, cities, deserts, mountains are all perfectly nailed. Her ability to make everything feel dirty and broken undeniably adds to this comics character and charm. Cloonan drops a layer of grime and deterioration over everything and it keeps adding to the experience. Upfront is a sense of strong storytelling where every visual decision serves the story.
Her know how and awesomeness stand out from miles away. You don’t question the time or money you’re investing on Cloonan’s work here. You’re comforted by the sense that Cloonan’s a big soft hand, guiding you, kindly suggesting you just sit back and enjoy the ride. Its all big, mighty, and just feels real. The opening page is this 12 panel grid and its just right. The second page is an airy breath and again feels right. There’s a lot of that while every page is its own wondrous thing. You see the work she’s put in and you enjoy it all, questioning nothing. You feel her scorching deserts. You’re afraid to be alone in her Battery City. You wanna play dress up with these kids. You wanna play with dials and knobs on all the radios she’s drawn. Every inch is masterfully engaging, masterfully done. Art alone merits this book being a perfect 10. This work will make you a Cloonan follower for life.
Letters, colors, and design serve this book really well. Nate Piekos’s Lettering
is light and heavy when necessary. Everything is done right and easy to follow. Everything about this comic dances accordingly to the music. Dan Jackson’s colors are comforting. Cloonan’s never been colored in this good. Each creator has a hand in making me want more. I cant wait to see what else they do next.
I do have to mention designer Tony Ong contributions to this book. Design is the first thing that catches your eye. Its smart and sexy looking while maintaining a dangerous edge. Its hypnotic, luring you in on an adventurous trance from the start. Its where you want to be from the get go and its an obvious achievement on Ong’s part. It just looks so damn good.
Its rave of a comic. You have a great time with every moment knowing that its the party you’re gonna go around telling everyone about and how they should have been there too. In money for comics talk, its a perfect bargain. There’s a lot to digest (That’s high fancy wanna be talk for fun.). I read it 7 times prior to writing this and am sure to read it another 7 more times. There was this reliving the fun/chasing the dragon feeling to it. You read it and want to go back for more. Each time you find something new or you get a better sense of who’s who or whats gonna happen and it just gets more and more important. Its a party surrounded by a ton of gun powder and everyone’s tossing lit matches like it ain’t no thing. I cant recall the last time I read a comic that was this good or feeling like I gotta force it on everyone else. Its more than a weird science fiction post-apocalyptic story. Its more than a well oiled comic. Its perfect and a big deal and that’s easy to see from page one.
Everything is scary here including the youth. Not everyone is the hero they’re trying to be here and that works for me. At moments I can see what Way and Simon are saying about age. And how in the hands of other writers it may have fallen too on the nose, but here everything is handled brilliantly. Nothing is skimped on or over done. Its full of small little moments that satisfy you. Its packed like a fun little ugly amusement park you wait all year for. Its more than what I expected. This was a smart little door opening for me and am very excited for what comes next. Basically, money well spent.
If I saw you pass this up at the shelves I would make you buy it. The folks at the comic book shop would call the cops to come down and have me and my wild pack of dogs removed from the shop. And as they cuff me the clerk would hand me a bill for all the books that were damaged by dog slobber and blood and Id pay it cause it be worth it. You get that kind of value here. Its that big of a deal. You’ll love this world and will stop at nothing to force it upon loved ones. Shit, even your enemies. Find it. Read it. Pass it on. Use it to reawaken the notion of cool in everyone’s mind.
Thoughts while reading this comic:
“its a ten. You will have no problem handing money over for it”
“Cloonans snapping necks here”
“im smart cause I put this on my pull list months ago”
“well worth the wait”.