Never A Dull Panel – Reviewing Generation Gone #1 From Aleš Kot And André Lima Araújo

by Oliver MacNamee

 

 

With SDCC over and done with for another year, now may be a good time to look back at a new title that debuted last week from Image Comics: Generation Gone by writer Aleš Kot (Wolf, Secret Avengers) and artist André Lima Araújo  (Man: Plus, Spidey). This is a sci-fi story of hackers taking on The Man and thinking they’re getting away with it. And they would have done too, if it wasn’t for a meddling scientific genius, Akio, trying desperately to get his own dream experiment, Project Utopia, off the ground in the face of adversity. Cue, one hard-ass Army General who has not time for coders, like Akio.

This is a big first issue and gives Kot the space to establish his principle players and introduce them to the reader, warts and all. And, there are warts to some of these characters. These are the millennials whose future has been stolen by today’s business and military generation.

And, as a result, they want something back and that something–cold, hard cash–is something they believe is within their grasp, albeit illicitly. Although, these three friends are not condoned for their actions. Certainly not by the reader who are meant to warm to them (well, two of them at least). After all, they are taking on the military-industrial complex, so we’re on their side. We always root for the underdog and the nerdy; and they fit both!

But these guys aren’t all perfect. While Baldwin is the level-headed one of the group, Nick, the boyfriend of Elena, comes off as chauvinistic and arrogant and one can’t help feeling Elena is far too passive; trapped in a relationship where Nick dominates, knowingly so. Maybe it’s because of tragedy in her own life that she is unaware that she is in a mentally abusive relationship? Maybe, she’s like the proverbial frog in the pan of water that heats up with the frog none the wiser. Until it’s too late.

Either way, it is Elena that, by the end of this first installment, seems to come up as the central protagonist of the piece and the one to watch going forward. It is her problems we see the most of and her home life that dominates over her two friends. If anything, it’s the methodical, disciplined Baldwin that comes off as the least interesting. But, without him, who knows whether they would have acted this long anyway, even if Aiko is spying on them via the audio in their laptops, at least.

Baldwin is far too paranoid (and, hey, just because you are, doesn’t mean you’re wrong) to not keep his laptop camera covered. Nick; not so. All, however, are super talented IT geeks with the right amount of cockiness that only comes with youth to think they can pull this off.

Araújo’s art is a marvel; all clean, clear definitive lines and his training in the field of architecture is a great boon when coming to lay out each panel and especially his cityscapes and background details that breathe life into this comic. He adds solidity even to the most delicate of images, because of his mastery of depth and perspective and buildings that look made to last.

There isn’t a dull panel, even when it’s a bunch of government agents congregating around a table, or hackers sitting at home hacking. As such, no page is overcrowded or lacking in detail. Araújo art is some parts Moebius, and some parts Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), but his style is most definitely his own.

A full-on first issue that introduces and establishes the main cast of characters, good, bad or even ambivalent, and their hardships, hard-nosed attitudes and hard hitting consequences when it comes to hacking into a government facility. Times they are changing for Elena and the others, but only picking up the second issue will reveal whether these changes are for better or for worse.

Generation Gone #1 is out now from Image Comics.