A Cautionary Tale Told Too Late: Reviewing AWA’s `New Think’ #1
by Tom Smithyman
The point of a cautionary tale it to convince people the folly of their ways and to change. Yet New Think #1 instead opts to concede that it’s too late to abandon our addition to mobile phones and similar personal technologies. It’s a story without conflict, which really doesn’t make it much of a story.
Once upon a time, when children of a certain age misbehaved, they were put into timeout, or yelled at, or heaven forbid, paddled. Modern parents with modern sensibilities are far crueler – now taking away the delinquent kids’ “screen time.”
In doing so, youngsters lose all track of reality. They are no longer connected to their friends via social media and texts. They can’t catch up on their latest Tik Toks. In other words, they become disconnected from real life or what passes for it.
Writer Gregg Hurwitz explores that disconnectedness brought on by our computers, smartphones and gaming systems in New Think #1, the premiere issue of a five-part anthology series that explores the darker side of technology. Publisher AWA Studios would like you to believe that New Think is like a print version of the Netflix show Black Mirror, but the reality is – at least in this inaugural story – it’s little more than a history lesson.
The story involves an alien race known as “the Skreens” (Hurwitz clearly isn’t going for subtlety here) that slowly invade Earth in the middle of the last century. Foolish humans soon begin to build their houses and offices around these Skreens, building altars to them. (You might think of them as desks.)
Pleased but not satisfied with this level of devotion, the invaders sought ubiquity through smartphones. Now nearly everyone had a baby Skreen in their pocket. Hurwitz briefly explores the damage that these technologies have had on our health and society. And everything he discussed is spot on.
But his style is preachy to the point of being uninteresting. There’s no real conflict in this story, except the non-existent struggle between the Skreens and humans. He offers no suggestions to combat the technological scourge. Instead, the aliens win. End of boring story.
Mike Deodato’s artwork saves the issue. While he’s not asked to take on anything overly challenging, Deodato depicts the reality of this technological terror in a more compelling way that the text. Hopefully he didn’t draw the issue on a tablet.
New Think #1 is currently available for purchase.