Story: Curt Pires
Art: Ian MacEwan
What They Say:
A death meme delivered through a popular phone app. An army of children terrorizing the city. Tokyo is burning, and only the Tomorrows can stop it.
Continuing the techno-thrilling pop-magical pedal-to-the-metal trip through a terrifying future from writer Curt Pires (The Fiction, POP, Mayday), with art for this issue by Ian MacEwan (Sex)!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Tomorrows had a pair of interesting opening issues with the kind of near future storytelling it wanted to bring out with some great artwork from two very talented artists. With the third installment, we get some nice nods to a few Japanese talents in the gaming industry and a thoroughly engaging visual presentation from Ian MacEwan. And in a way, I think this is the most accessible of Pires’ stories yet while also being the most straightforward. It’s one that has its appeal and leaves you wondering of the impact of it all as The Tomorrows do their best to save the day while facing off against some incredibly complex opponents and methods that are being backed by the crazy.
The premise is straightforward enough in that Atlas has taken over a staple of the Japanese electronics industry and has flushed a lot of money into it over the past six months. But it’s been done mostly through their mobile games division, which barely registers at all on the corporate balance sheet. Through one particularly nuts executive, they’ve created a series of apps that use a method of subliminal hypnosis to get kids playing the games like Angry Gulls to go and kill people. We get a brief instance of it early on to see just how striking it is, and MacEwan presents it in a great way with it mostly off-panel so the imagination does the work, but it also shifts into higher gear as Atlas is using a large swathe of these kids to run wild in the streets as a group later on. Chaos is intense and while using apps as a delivery method certainly isn’t new, it’s well done here.
The book does bring in Claudius to Tokyo to help out since it’s such a weird issue with what Atlas is doing from their point of view, but it connects well with those in the area that he partners up with to try and stop this from going crazy over the top. Pires’ story here is rather straightforward as it moves through the points, but it does it with some great little hooks along the way, from the exec talking about the bizarre way he stops a cab to some of how the city works. There are aspects of the story that makes this feel like it’s much more recent than in the future, such as its references to the 21st century electronics giants, because comments about how “even kids probably have cell phones” is something that feels outdated a few years ago, nevermind a potential century from now. Still, there are cut nods to things like the Funstation and more that should delight fans.
The Tomorrow’s plays big with what’s at stake here as we see a global operation get underway to drive chaos into the world and you do wonder at the end game of it all. When that comes onto the page I found myself perking up a bit more. The app side of the story is solid enough and I like the little creative touches of referential material that Pires brings into. This is my first experience with MacEwan’s artwork and it and his panel layout reminded me of a lot of later Grendel work from Matt Wagner, particularly in his Devil’s Reign run and what Patrick McOewn did in War child. It’s very well done with the action sequences and I loved the character designs from top to bottom, from basic kids in uniforms to the combatants that get involved. It’s an intriguing issue that again has me really interested in the work as a whole and its connective tissue.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 7th, 2015