I think reviewer Arbaz Khan put it best when he said Join the Future “displays one of the most subtle ways to talk about the effects and influences of our egregious desire for pleasure as a society.” This is an interesting sci-fi story by Zack Kaplan and Piotr Kowalski about a world where society at large wants the comfort of tech, but some folks don’t want that at all. Living isn’t necessarily defined by how easy you got it, and in issue #2 we can see the pleasures of society come at a cost.
This issue drops readers into a conflict as the protagonist Clem and her family are being attacked. There is a desire to terraform her family’s land and they don’t have much say in things. It’s a story we’ve seen before — the land or home needs to be acquired for a rebuild — but it’s done with a sci-fi and western twist that makes it new and interesting. Clem is also a strong character who is still young, but quickly learning life is hard and fighting is sometimes all that we can do. By the end of the issue, Kaplan had me rooting for Clem and folks, in general, to be given the opportunity to live as they wish and want to know if it can even be done to fight society’s desire to make decisions for others for the “Greater good.”
The art by Kowalski is good, with a great sense of realism mixed in with drones and sci-fi goodies. The blending of western and sci-fi is well done making the world seem real, but also unique in its own way. The machine that terraforms the Earth is impressive and it’s haunting. The period clothing is also well done, which is a big part of why the futuristic characters look so strange and alien compared to Clem and her people.
One gripe I have is how this reads like it should be an OGN instead of a single issue release. It feels like a chunk that is broken off or a chapter that needs more to give it life. It’s enjoyable enough, but it doesn’t necessarily stand alone. The decompressed story is going a bit too slowly which means the single issue read can feel like there isn’t quite enough there.
I liked this second issue because it blends sci-fi with the western themes well. It also stands to offer a strong statement on how much we’re willing to do as a society to ensure everyone gets the same pleasures it has to offer. At what point are we forcing our ideas and ideals on others and actually doing more harm than good? It’s questions like this that prove this, and all sci-fi is more necessary than ever.
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