Nuclear Power #1 is a very unexpected debut that’s thought-provoking and somewhat shocking. The alternate history kicks off with the Cuban Missile Crisis and instead of a de-escalation, an exchange takes place devastating the United States. Taking place 60 years later, the US is now the American Union comprised of thirteen states and governed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Their military rule governs and helps rebuild society while protecting the survivors. Nuclear radiation has impacted society enhancing some but also making birth difficult for others.
With a story by Desirée Proctor and Erica Harrell, Nuclear Power #1 is an intriguing debut. Its themes touch upon so much including liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the right to life. Yes, abortion is at the center of the comic in many ways but the right to life extends beyond that to the survivors beyond a wall built to protect the American Union.
But, what stands out to be about Nuclear Power #1 are the small details. The world has been fleshed out with the impact of the alternate history playing a major role. Things like the Civil Rights movement wouldn’t have played out. The women’s rights movement of the 1960s and 70s as well would not have happened. The result is both a forward (in some ways) society and a backward one.
In the American Union, abortion is used regularly to terminate pregnancies impacted by radiation. Women though are clearly seen as second class in some ways who have an important role in helping repopulate the American Union. But, women also hold high ranks in the military infrastructure but also are called “emotional” in being dressed down. There’s an interesting mix of attitudes within the comic, one that’s fascinating to think about and deconstruct. Without social movements, in a military-focused and controlled society, how would things evolve as a society? Nuclear Power #1 delivers some thoughts concerning that.
The art by Lynne Yoshii is fantastic. The comic sticks to a black, red, and off-white coloring and style that evokes propaganda posters of the past. The style is very reminiscent of Des Taylor, a high compliment, and it works so well. While the page layouts mainly stick to various combinations of panels, there’s a focus on facial expressions that add a weight of emotion to the story. Like the society itself, there’s a focus on details that add to the story as well. The dress and technology feel like a throwback but also not quite as antiquated as the 1960s. There’s some small advancement but not a jump to what we’d expect in today’s world. There’s a focus on the military dress that presents a clean and organized society, stiff in many ways.
Nuclear Power #1 is a hell of a start. The alternate history story feels relevant in many ways and delivers a focus on details that’s unexpected and very welcomed. It’s a series that feels well-thought-out. The art has a sense to it that’s both beautiful and off-putting to look at. The comic as a whole gives a sense of order but something’s off. It’s a deliver that sucks you in making you want to find out more and explore the deeper meanings of what the comic is trying to deliver.
Story: Desirée Proctor, Erica Harrell Art: Lynne Yoshii
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Fanbase Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review