By Ales Kot, André Lima Araújo, Chris O’Halloran, Clayton Cowles, Tom Muller, and Lizzie Kaye
I am a sucker. A sucker for comics. I love comics of all types. The ones that really get me excited are the ones that place my two favorite subjects side by side: Science and Magic. Since comics use science and magic to create the stories in our minds, what better way to explore the two than in a comic book? Comics have proved they are up for the task of a story like Generation Gone. But is Generation Gone up to the task of handling science and magic in a comic?
If Ales Kot has proven anything in his career it’s that he has an understanding of comics. It’s one thing to write a story, it’s an almost Herculean effort to craft a complex story into a comic format. He has also proven that he can write distinct characters with unique voices. Then put these characters into interesting situations that will put their morals, their emotions, their capabilities and their powers(?) to the ultimate tests. He has shown that he not only can craft a compelling story, but has a grasp of the craft of comic storytelling in particular. In Generation Gone he is trying to prove that he can push himself further; not just with ideas, but with the storytelling and the dialogue as well. The use of real-world language for his characters is so strong that we feel at home with them as believable archetypes. Particularly impressive is his use of sarcasm in a few scenes, which is very tricky to pull off in a comic format. His understanding of our social and political state is deftly portrayed through the diverse cast of characters, be they young hackers, ambitious scientists, or mighty military men in power. All are trying to prove themselves and push past their own limits. But Ales and his characters are not alone in trying to prove something.
André Lima Araújo seems like he is out to prove that he is up for any task. He takes us from a lover’s scene on a park greenbelt, deep into the military industrial complex establishment, and in to the simple homes of various characters with consistent ease. He proves he can capture all the nuanced dialogue and precise character acting that Ales’ script calls for. I was unfamiliar with Andre’s work before this and I was so impressed with the first few pages that it compelled me to restart in “reader mode” and detach myself as an “artist in appreciation mode” to allow Araújo to take me along at his own pace. If I were to use other creators to describe the panel work and art styling, I would have to say it’s in-line with Nick Pitarra of The Manhattan Projects and Frank Quitely of All-Star Superman. Simple, effective line work combined with tightly synced beats of word and picture. This creates a smooth and effortless reading experience for both new and veteran comic readers.
The entire Generation Gone team seems to be up for the task of crafting this story. Chris O’Halloran steps hand-in-hand with André and Ales. Capturing each scene in the perfect color palette with simple rendering and wonderful separation of layers. Especially lovely is his work for the scene in the military’s robotics lab. It’s exciting to think of what he’ll do in future issues.
Clayton Cowles also stands out on his own in the most under-appreciated role in comics as the letterer. There was an interesting panel where the three characters were all unseen inside a building and their word balloons were all outside the window. It was an interesting visual and let’s hope we’ll see more lettering fun in this series.
Hackers? Scientists? Scary black goo? Possible super powers? A creative team firing on all cylinders? All wrapped in a package that was edited by Lizzie Kaye designed by the illustrious Tom Muller? Let’s do this.