In their new series The New World #1, Ales Kot, Tradd Moore, and Heather Moore craft a post-nuclear apocalypse United States that has been carved into many small countries, chief among them, New California. It’s a reality not far from our own with surveillance technology, brutal police officers, partying, music, and slightly smarter home A.I’s. The most popular past time is watching a reality show called Guardians where super cops subdue criminals and the audience votes real time for them to either execute them on the spot or let them have a fair trial. Through this program, Kot crafts the logical progression of Americans’ obsessions with police procedurals, reality television (Especially with an interactive element.), and most of all, unrelenting violence.
In conjunction with cameras or a handler watching Stella Maris, New World’s protagonist and a cop who doesn’t like to kill even when the audience wants her to, Tradd Moore uses lots of full page and double page splashes and big panels to give the book a televised feel. Even his scene-to-scene transitions have a pretty big scope like a full page of a satellite in silhouette on one page zooming in back to Earth to the West Hollywood home of Kirby Miyazaki, an atheist anarchist vegan hacker, who sabotages an airing of Guardians and thanks to loads of hormones and probably moly, ends up hooking up with Stella. He’s doing just fine with his revolutionary activities and putting his war vet dad to bed after a long night of drinking, but comes off as insufferable. But weren’t we all insufferable in our early twenties? (Aka me currently). His anime protagonist good looks don’t help either and act as one big visual joke along with Kot giving the same middle name as one of the monsters in Naruto.
Like the majority of Ales Kot’s comics, New World #1 has a real activist streak, but it reads more like a coming of age romance than the chronicles of the revolution although there is a harrowing flashback showing Stella’s rebel parents being beaten down by border guards drawn by Moore from the POV of her in the back seat. New World is a YA dystopia shorn of its twee-ness and pandering to Hollywood suits. There’s banter with dads and robotic assistants about cats, and Kot and Moore soak up the daily lives of Stella and Kirby between being an action cop or subversive hacker using the extra-sized first issue to run through a literal day in their shoes. There are plenty of full face close-ups along the way to show exactly how characters are feeling with colorist Heather Moore adding intriguing touches, like a ghostly white to the features of Stella’s grandfather Herod, the governor of New California, who wants Stella to be more ruthless on TV like bulky killing machine Logan Maximus.
Even though it’s thrilling to see Kirby do his hacker thing and tell the slightly creepy person who is interviewing him for the job at Guardians how he is going to disrupt the show, New World #1 hits its peak when Kot and Moore give Kirby and Stella an opportunity to let their proverbial hair down and enjoy a rave party in Long Beach. And it’s the coolest, most energetic rave in comics since Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Dionysian one in The Wicked + the Divine #8. There’s a cascade of colors as Kirby hits the dance floor because he’s straight edge and doesn’t need booze or drugs to have a good time, and Tradd Moore draws the hell out of a crowded dance floor until two young people meet, the (not) talking leads to touching and the touching leads to sex, and you know that Rilo Kiley song. Moore’s panels flow together in a beautiful symphony of lust, and he and Kot also stick the landing when they wake up back at there separate places, but are filled with life and Janelle Monae and Billy Bragg songs. Kirby and Stella have real chemistry, and it’s all in the magic of Tradd Moore’s fluid layouts and use of body language and Heather Moore’s energetic colors.
The New World #1 is the socially responsible young people falling in love story that we deserve in summer of 2018 featuring smart world building and tongue in cheek humor from Ales Kot and jaw dropping visuals from Tradd Moore and Heather Moore. Don’t forget “ACAB” though.
Story: Ales Kot Art: Tradd Moore
Colors: Heather Moore Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.2 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review