Facing a resource shortage that threatens the future of the entire planet, the human race – in a final act of desperation – assembles several gargantuan ships with the aim of abandoning their overcrowded planet in search of a new future. The only trouble is, there isn’t enough room for everyone. Unexpectedly however, their departure turns the world into a virtual paradise, with the reduced strain on food and resources providing everyone with more than they could ever need. The premise of Exit Generations is brilliantly well-conceived in and of itself, but kicks into another gear when marauding aliens invade earth looking for some resources of their own – namely some humans to eat!
While this second issue doesn’t necessarily have the same emotional gut-punch of the first one (particularly the first issue’s opening segment, which I still hold as quite possibly the best start to a small press comic that I’ve ever read), it does go a long way towards developing the overall storyline, as well as adding a few interesting new faces along the way. We find out a little more about the aliens and their motivations, as well as discovering that this race may not be quite as universally ‘wicked’ as we’d first thought.
As with the previous issue, the aliens are utterly fantastic, although they come across as significantly more menacing the second time around as their somewhat humorous ‘culinary’ adjectives give way to flat-out threats and displays of aggression. For the most part, anyway. The new additions to the story – trader “Scrap” and his surrogate daughter Hanna (or “Han”) – are both brilliantly characterised, with Read’s strong dialogue giving them each a distinctly unique voice. Of the four main characters, best friend Mo probably comes across as the least developed, and his characterisation seems to be a little off as he rapidly flicks from weeping for his abducted family to wise-cracking about guns and spaceships over the course of just a few pages. A minor complaint though, given how well-rounded the other three are.
Caio Oliveira’s artwork continues to be of its usual high standard here, creating some wonderfully distinctive new characters and keeping the flow of the narrative surging forwards with his crisp, measured panel layouts. One panel in particular – containing a “training montage” scene where Jack and Mo get to grips with firearms – is absolutely fantastic, and showcases the boundless creativity of Oliveira as an artist. As with the previous issue, Oliveira’s images are brought to life by some vibrant, energetic colour work. The only different being that the colours are provided this time by Marissa Louise rather than Ruth Redmond. It’s also worth mentioning that one of my few niggles from the first issue – the retina-scorching white-on-lime speech bubbles of the aliens – have been replaced by far more user-friendly black-on-green ones, meaning that I now no longer have anything negative to say about lettering and production maestro Colin Bell. Oh well.
The first issue of Exit Generations was always going to be a tough act to follow in my mind, but Read and Oliveira have done a solid job of building and expanding upon their stellar opening chapter. The pace is a little slower here than in issue one, which is probably a wise decision, but the final panel leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that things are going to be ramped up significantly in issue three. And I for one am going to be eagerly anticipating finding out just where this brilliantly creative story is going next. Highly, highly recommended.
You can pick yourself up a digital copy of the book from the RF Online Store.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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