The team behind “Hacktivist” take us to space in “Joyride”. Read on for our spoiler free review.
Written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly
Illustrated by Marcus To and Irma Kniivila
What’s to Love: After working together on Hacktivist and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials original graphic novel, the writing duo of Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly (Batman and Robin Eternal) join forces once again with artist Marcus To (New Warriors, The Flash: Season Zero) for their first creator-owned series that takes readers to the stars in this space epic with a punk-rock attitude, perfect for fans of Young Avengers and Runaways.
What It Is: In the future, Earth sucks. The stars have been blocked out for so long that people have forgotten there was anything else besides the dumb World Government Alliance watching over them, training children to join the militarized Allied Youth and eliminating all resistance with a giant ray gun. Uma Akkolyte is a girl who shoots first and leaps before she looks, and when she gets a strange message from outside the barricades of SafeSky, she jacks a spaceship and punches through the stratosphere with an unlikely crew of teens who are totally not ready for what they’re about to find.
Last year, based on an idea by Alyssa Milano, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly and Marcus To gave us a thought provoking and gorgeous looking miniseries with “Hacktivist”. This week, they unveil “Joyride” a series they’ve been working on getting out for a couple of years. “Joyride” #1 is not ground breaking but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a fun comic book that does have some issues but ultimately comes together for a fun outer space adventure that touches on some bigger ideas.
“Joyride” #1 introduces us to Uma and her friend Dewydd. They live on Earth in the far future where the planet’s cities have been basically contained into these high tech, totalitarian state. Uma is a very educated young woman who wants more than what she’s been allowed to have. She has different colored hair, illegal shoes and a personality that’s not what you should have in this kind of world. Uma has a plan to get out of Earth and see the galaxy – literally.
Right off the bat, you’ll be enamored with To’s pencils and Kniivila’s colors. It was the first thing I noticed and its what gripped e to stay with the issue. The world these characters inhabit is incredibly polished looking with skyscrapers and the reflecting light of those buildings making up most of the backgrounds. To and Kniivila really get into a nice sync with each other in terms of scope and building a vibrant looking city that deceives you into thinking this is a great place to live. Kniivila’s bold colors give To’s characters a chance to stand out in a meaningful way because from the get-go, after reading the news bulletin, you immediately know that they are the outcasts. To’s work is so big in scope and perspective and he really builds a unique world that sort of pays homage to Blade Runner big screens constantly blasting information and advertisements at you.
Marcus To also has a great ability to make you connect with his characters. He did this with “Hacktivist” as well and it’s a big part of why I want to see him get more work. His characters are very expressive and authentic. From the first moment we see Uma kicking her feet against the side of a building, showing off her illegal shoes, we can connect to her personality. It’s little things like that and her look of determination and hope that make her a good protagonist. In contrast, Dewydd is nervous and scared but it’s done in a way by To where he makes him relatable. He’s stuck in this world too and attempting to break all the rules to escape is a scary thing to do. It’s not cowardly but reasonable. Through body language and little things like a smirk, To can do so much with these two leads.
Lanzing and Kelly were clearly influenced by classic science fiction and books like “1984” and “Brave New World” and it both works and doesn’t work. Due to the nature of a first issue needing to hook us with a premise and it’s characters, we don’t really get to see much of what this world has to offer. Visually we see what it looks like but we don’t really get to see it’s mechanisms and only get references from Uma that go back to Nazis during World War II. I’m not asking for gory details but it would have been a benefit to get into a little of what every day life looks like for Uma and Dewydd. We get a lot of telling about how much they want to leave and it works enough but could have felt a little more realized.Continued below
This series is now an ongoing and that’s really going to work for “Joyride”. After reading this debut, I was a bit unsure of where the story would go. Wanting to run away and subsequently doing that is not really a conflict and every story needs a real conflict. With the series going on past it’s initial four issue run, there’s room to build something bigger and for that reason, I think “Joyride” is something to stick with for a little bit.
Final Verdict: 7.4 – “Joyride” #1 is a fine debut that makes promises of something great.