Give Up Your (In)Dependence: Reviewing ‘Join The Future #1’

by Brendan M. Allen

The Future. Ultra-modern megacities reward millions of their citizens with a completely funded life, with every need met, from food to housing and healthcare, in order to com-pete in an economic power struggle in which population is key.
But a few rural residents still cling to their independence in what last American small towns are left. When a nearby megacity pressures the people of a small town join up or else, a young teenage girl named Clem will learn how far she’ll go to defend her prin-ciples.

Join The Future #1 introduces a post apocalyptic world where two very different societies exist. On one end of the spectrum, there are small, close knit rural groups, doing their best to live off the land without much modern tech at all. On the other end, there are massive mega-cities that are constantly recruiting the local holdouts to join their impossibly amazing communities.

Zack Kaplan lays out some interesting pieces in this series opener. The townies obviously have a deeply rooted mistrust of the cities, but for most of the book, we don’t really know why. There are some shady car dealer sales pitches used on the townies by some slick city recruiters while the mayor is off hunting for the day, sure, but there has to be something deeper, right? Darker and more sinister? Oh, yes. That comes around by the end of this first chapter.

Join the Future’s art is pretty remarkable. Piotr Kowalski and Brad Simpson are able to bring two completely unique aesthetics to the table, while keeping them married enough that it’s obviously two sides of the same coin. The rural scenes are rough and gritty. The parts of city life that we’re allowed to see through the video sales pitch are overly sanitized, clinical, and bright. Characters are distinct and memorable. Action scenes are intense and frenetic, but easy to follow. 
There are definitely some well worn tropes in play in Join the Future, but it’s already looking like a solid little sci-fi Western. Even before that last big pop, it’s pretty easy to see that something about that megacity pitch is a little…off. I’m picking up similar vibes as The Postman, TWD, Relay, and Elysium, with a healthy kick of 1984.

Join The Future #1, AfterShock Comics, 04 March 2020. Written/created by Zach Kaplan, art by Piotr Kowalski, color by Brad Simpson, letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, variant covers by Brandon Peterson, Natasha Alterici, Soo Lee, Andrea Mutti, and Darick Robertson, logo design/production by Charles Pritchett, edited by Mike Marts.

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