Writer: R.J. Ryan
Artist: David Marquez
Release Date: 15th June 2016
I love spectacle and witnessing fantastical, crazy visions of true imagination. That being said, I prefer to have a fantastical world, but with a story that focuses more on a human level. I think it’s a much more difficult approach to go for, as well as more intelligent and inspired. It isn’t something we see much of nowadays, which is a shame, but it seems to be what R.J. Ryan is trying to achieve with hia new 4-part comic series The Joyners. I may prefer this approach, but that doesn’t mean that it works every time….
George Joyner may reside in the future, but he has many problems like a lot of people have nowadays. He works hard at his job, just to come home to a wife who he is disconnected with and children who he can’t seem to effectively bond with. It doesn’t help that his wounded father-in-law also lives with them. As things start to become big at work, George learns that he must figure out the issues with his family as soon as possible to clearly move forward at his job.
My highest point of praise with this inaugural issue is the coloring and design, something that is key to the immersion of any book. The book is illustrated by David Marquez and colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, who set a very effective atmosphere with their visual translations. The coloring is very bright and gave me the type of atmosphere that I’d find in a Valve Studios video game such as Portal or Half-Life, or even something such as Mirror’s Edge. This is teamed up with science fiction designs that aren’t very big, they’re pretty basic and simple designs, but I felt like it was made effective by having that Valve-esque atmosphere.
The biggest problem with this book is the writing. First off, I just didn’t get the point of the book. When this issue was over, I was confused as to where this is going. So, it’s basically just The Jetsons, but with real-life problems? It seems to go for a light atmosphere visually, but going for a more realistic tone in terms of writing and the two styles just don’t mesh well at all. It creates this constant feeling of “ I don’t get it.” Which isn’t to say that the book is complex, but more so that the book is pointless, bringing absolutely nothing new or interesting to the table.
I wouldn’t mind so much with this “day in the life of” approach if I gave a shit about the characters. If you’re trying to set up a character-driven narrative, I need to care about someone, but all of these characters are so boring to me. I don’t care about them or their problems, so why would I want to read the next three issues?
All of that aside, the dialogue is flat-out bad. It’s never horrible per se, but it’s just so bland. It feels like the first draft of the script as opposed to a finished product. It feels like a script that needed an extra polish by a punch-up writer to add some personality to it. This doesn’t bring anything new to the table, which is key for a story like this. In a character-driven, drama-driven book like this, I need that deep, intelligent dialogue to suck me in but this book is completely devoid of that.
I could see how this book was pitched effectively, aiming to create a book set in a science fiction world but dealing with the human issues that plague people even today. It’s an interesting approach, but it falls flat at almost everything. The designs are quaint and charming, teamed with colorful visuals to give me at least something pretty to look at. Aside from that, we have a book that is pointless and dull. This isn’t a horrible book, but it’s just painfully lame. I’ll completely forget that I even read this by next week, so suffice it to say that I’m not exactly compelled to continue on with this 4-part series and neither should you.
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The writer of this piece was: Mike Annernio
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