Review – The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys – National Anthem
Artist – Leonardo Romero
Colourist – Jordie Bellaire
Letterer – Nate Piekos
Publisher – Dark Horse Comics
Publication Date – 14 July 2021
Forget everything you already knew about the Fabulous Killjoys! Writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, along with Illustrator Leonardo Romero (Hawkeye), colourist Jordie Bellaire (Redlands), and letterer Nate Piekos (The Umbrella Academy) team up to present an all-new modern-day Killjoys series as Way and Simon take it all the way back to the original story that inspired My Chemical Romance’s concept album Danger Days and its dystopian comic book series in The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem.
The oversized library hardcover collects issues #1-#6 of National Anthem as well as a brand new eight-page Killjoys story exclusive to the hardcovers.
I came into this having never read any of the Killjoys books before and I was unsure what to expect. Sure I had read Gerard Ways’ Umbrella Academy and had been suitably impressed but what about his other works? I must admit I’m not a fan of My Chemical Romance but when I heard that the original story inspired MCR’s concept album Danger Days, I was intrigued.
This book isn’t like the original Killjoys books so fans of that may be left disappointed. Whilst Killjoys offered a vivid dystopian future, this is planted firmly in the modern-day or an alternative thereof. I felt that there was very little character development and that Mike Milligram was the only character who had any real depth. And it just feels that Way and Simon had a lot of ideas for this book but they ultimately didn’t gel together cohesively. It’s still a decent story but I just felt that more could have been done with it.
I was instantly grabbed by the cover art of this book. But would the level of artwork continue throughout? In short, yes. The artwork is bold and vivid and pops out at you from every panel. Thankfully it’s the artwork of the book that remains a positive throughout. And had it not been for the eye-catching artwork, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this book nearly enough. I couldn’t get over how Jordie Bellaire utilised his colour palette, as some people might find it over the top. But I have to admit that I liked it and found it quite refreshing in comparison to some mainstream comics whose colour work can seem quite bland and stale.
This seemed like a book full of promise with the pedigree of the writers and their previous achievements. But I just felt that I wanted more from the story. It was crying out for better character development and despite the writer’s throwing lots of ideas at the book, I don’t feel that the book benefited from them. But thankfully the saving grace of the book is the fantastic artwork that just captures your attention from start to finish.
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