Imagine this: you live in a dystopian country where a world power once sat, brave and tall. From the ashes of nuclear devastation that ruined this country rose a government whose focus was the entertainment of a people through unjust criminal sentences. In The New World #1, would you kill someone based on a populace vote from around the world or revolt against an uncaring nation?
For Power & Injustice for All
If you’re looking for something new to read this comic book Wednesday, check out Aleš Kot and Tradd Moore’s new dystopian sci-fi adventure, The New World #1, published by Image Comics. Colored by Heather Moore, we bare witness to a world where nuclear destruction plagues The United States of America in the year 2037.
Unable to handle devastation at this scale, the country became destabilized, leading to the second Civil War. Four countries made themselves known when the dust and bloodshed of this war finally settled; The United States of East Americas, The Union of Federations, No Man’s Land, and The New California.
Out of the four, The New California rose above them, showing its power in warfare, trade, and its belief in what was once “The American Dream.” Years after the war, the country still stands above all else but at what cost?
Two Parties, One Mindset
We jump into this story following a famously televised policewoman, Stella Maris, who brings criminals to justice on broadcasts around the world. She isn’t the only one who live streams her arrests. Her along with many other cops provide entertainment for the people by risking their own lives for a paycheck. The audience can participate in the live stream as well!
Once the cops detain a criminal, the people get to vote: let them live or erase them? Stella isn’t like the other cops at The Guardian though; she defies what the people say in favor of her own morals. She might be the most capable cop the company has, but regardless of the consequences, she doesn’t kill people.
Alongside Stella, we meet Kirby Shakaku Miyazaki, a tech-savvy teen with a hatred for the government. Using a fake ID and resume, he lands an internship at The Guardian but doesn’t plan on working there for long.
Using his new granted access to the building, he sets hacking devices all over before finally taking his leave. Before heading home, he ensures all live streams disconnect with his only message to the populace; “Smash the Police State.”
With the workday done, a party in Long Beach attracts both characters to its venue and soon, to each other. This news reaches the government and trouble ensues for both Stella and Kirby, their private life no longer private. Broadcasting live to the entire world, what will Stella choose to do?
To Rise Up Or Stand Down
Almost immediately, we see how the government in this universe interacts with its people. We see not only Stella, but other cops live streaming their arrests for the entertainment of the masses. This sort of thing isn’t only broadcasted to The New California, but all over the world.
The voting system in these streams determines the fate of one person without any higher power of government determining their punishment. In this context, it seems like the government only cares about how many people watch the broadcasts. Evidence supports this when President Herod summons Stella, who speaks poorly of her performance during the streams.
Stella’s failure to kill people due to her moral, to which has been mentioned to have happened before, could potentially spark a little bit of rebellion in her nature. The reason she doesn’t act on this? Her own grandfather runs the government. We can assume from her nightmare she has later in the comic, she has no family and her grandfather could possibly be all she has left.
This job is her only source of income and she has close to nothing without it, so she stays where she is under the government’s thumb. It’s also possible that she wishes to continuously exercise her rebellion to the masses, hoping they will see what they’re doing is unjust.
While either of these could be a possibility, there is also the possibility that she finds satisfaction with her work. While this seems unlikely, it’s not completely off the table.
Kirby is another plot point we should observe. His reason for hating the government or wanting to stop the police force is unclear. While he could share the same moral standpoint as Stella, it’s not confirmed or denied as of this issue.
We know his father is a veteran of the war and could have possibly raised him under the influence of a government that doesn’t seem to care about its people. The absence of a mother figure could also play a part; perhaps she was killed by this unfair system? Maybe she was corrupted by this system? While all of these are possibilities, Kirby’s justifications for his hatred will have to wait until we know more about him.
So far, this comic doesn’t make decisions that are black and white. A lot of it is a gray area of morality. Do you kill a person you know nothing about because the people told you to or do you face the punishment of the government for the failure of your task? All actions so far have had their fair share of consequences, it’s only a matter of time before questions like these can’t be avoided.
Nuclear Colors For A Nuclear Story
Without color, the art style is reminiscent of comic books by big name publishers such as Marvel or DC. The detail of the linework, the anatomy, and the diversity of character shapes and expressions are what gives it a little more flare than those by comparison.
Adding color to this story, it creates a new art style that is all around unique from other publishers. By incorporating such vivid and bright colors, especially in the club scene, it gives off a sort of radioactive feel to remind the reader that the nuclear disaster that happened in this universe is relevant to this comic’s storytelling and these characters.
We can also start to make color associations with our characters. When Stella is home, there tends to be more of a purple hue around her environment while in Kirby’s home, there tends to be more of a red hue. I believe these color associations might play a role in the future but for now, I believe it’s important to remember this.
The New World #1: Live Or Erase?
If you’re looking for a new comic series to start, I highly suggest The New World #1. With a vibrant art style, a badass female cop, and a country run by entertainment, what more could you want out of this dystopian, action-packed story? While you make your choice to “live or erase” this comic from this week’s new releases, let me leave you with a question to think about as you read:
Are Kirby Shakaku Miyazaki’s actions just?
This comic is rated Mature for content such as nudity, profanity, and sexual themes. Pick up your own copy of The New World #1 online or wherever comics are sold!