Join The Future #1 - AfterShock Comics
Written by Zack Kaplan
Art by Piotr Kowalski
Colors by Brad Simpson
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
I remember hearing a song once that said, "There ain't no future in the past." Does that mean that they are mutually exclusive? In good storytelling, we have seen that the two can co-exist. So we're heading to the future this week with Zack Kaplan, and his new AfterShock story, Join The Future.
The story follows a setting just as much as it does a cast of characters. It's a promise of a better tomorrow. Without getting into any specifics, since this is a spoiler free review, the book goes through a wish list of items that are aimed at making you want to join a modern society. Turns out, this isn't for everyone. We meet Clementine Libbey and her family, who are seemingly living their lives in the past. As you can see from the cover, there is a real "Old West" feel going on here. Needless to say, there is a clash of ideals here and that leads to some tension later in the issue. The question is, how much do Clementine and her brother know about the world beyond their home? Is the choice their own? That might be more of a loaded question than you think, especially with how the first issue ends.
This story does something that I like stories to do: it makes you think. You see two sides, maybe even more of a Venn diagram depending on your perspective, and you can form your opinion on their merits. That means that this story isn't reliant on it's characters alone, like so many stories can be. In saying that, I definitely liked Clementine and am interested to see how much that family dynamic will be changing as the story progresses. Still, I can't help but focus on the overall scope of things and put myself in that situation. That is also a testament the work Piotr Kowalski does, especially early on. To pivot from future society propaganda to the Old West is no easy task, yet it feels like an easy transition in this book. There are also a couple of unexpected action sequences that really stand out thanks to how well they are portrayed. There are definitely some vibes of The Hunger Games here, but you could also mix in a bit of Demolition Man meeting a classic John Wayne tale. My guess is, the future is bright for this story.
(Kaplan chooses his projects very wisely, and only seems to put something out when he knows he has something good. I say that because, everything has been so far. This is a great addition to a body of work that includes several unique offerings. Don't miss it.)