Ales Kot returns to Image Comics with a new original series, this time collaborating with Tradd Moore, the sublime artist of Luther Strode. With such a brilliant visual talent on board, it should be no surprise that the first issue of New World looks rather wonderful, fully realising an exciting dystopia which is one part Mad Max and one part Logan’s Run.
In the distant future, nuclear bombs are dropped on five major cities in the United States of America and scrappy new societies are born out of the rubble. Years later, the shared pastime of this new nation becomes a brutal reality TV show about a group of super-cops who hunt down criminals. Each episode ends with a public vote which determines whether the apprehended offender gets to live another day or gets executed live on air.
The New World inserts a Romeo and Juliet-style romance into this chaos, documenting the blossoming relationship between a law enforcer and a rebel against the new regime. For his two lead characters, Kot has chosen a pair of cooler-than-thou futuristic hipsters who spew wisecracks across every page on which they are featured. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with quips - superstar writer Joss Whedon has built a career on them - the sheer volume of snarky dialogue in this issue becomes somewhat exhausting by the final page.
It’s difficult to shake the feeling that Kot is trying too hard in this regard, so desperate to create cool characters for his strikingly stylish world that what he ends up with is a couple of abrasive, mildly irritating caricatures. In some sci-fi stories, such outlandish personalities could work quite well, but when the entire comic book rests on the reader sympathising for their troubled romance it quickly becomes a problem.
The New World certainly has potential. If Kot can flesh out his characters in such a way that shows them in a more endearing light then that would be a great start. For now, it remains a neat concept and visually stimulating, but there’s a lack of substance to both the characters and the plotting which leaves it falling short of its true potential.
THE NEW WORLD #1 / WRITER: ALES KOT / ARTIST: TRADD MOORE, HEATHER MOORE / PUBLISHER: IMAGE COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW