Joyride #1 Writer: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly Pencils: Marcus To Colors: Irma Kniivila Letters: Jim Campbell Publisher: Boom Studios
What we have here is an indie sci-fi mini-series in the spirit of The Runaways and Young Avengers. Joyride tells the story of Uma Akkolyte and her hunger for a journey into the stars. Brought to us by the writing duo of Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, who had previously collaborated on Hacktivist and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials original graphic novel. Along with artist Marcus To (New Warriors, The Flash: Season Zero), to bring us their first creator owned series.
It’s the future and what a surprise, life on Earth is a drag. Not only does the World Government Alliance (WGA) train children to join the militarized Allied Youth Division and destroy all resistance with a giant ray gun; but this is an Earth that has been completely blocked off from the stars. So long in fact that people have forgotten what the night sky looked like and have been fed nothing but possible propaganda about non-Earth beings.
The comic wastes no time and introduces us to its lead protagonist, Uma Akkolyte. Right off the bat we see that she’s an incredibly optimistic and uplifting character who is very much a proactive girl. Like Han Solo, she’s the type of person who’ll shoot first. Her plan of attack, is attack. Hit first, ask questions latter. Jumps before she….well…you get the idea. After receiving a message from beyond the barricades of SafeSky, her and her friend Dewydd steal a spacecraft to escape the boundaries and make contact with the outside galaxy. Along the way they come across a woman, Private First Class Cosanova and the three of them are on a journey they’d thought they’d never take.
Lanzing and Kelly do a great job with grabbing the readers investment through their dialogue. Not only is it enjoyably humorous banter, much like Brian Michael Bendis’ writing, but it also comes off very naturally, fluid, and not at all forced. You really get to know Uma and Dewydd through their conversations and want to see where this break from conformity takes them. Uma is the outgoing free-spirited one and Dewydd is the straight forward collective one, it’s a classic case of opposites attract. We also discover in the latter part of the issue that Uma isn’t all fun and games, she’s also a clever strategist making her all the more intriguing of a character.
Cosanova is an interesting case as she is set up for a prime character arc. Someone who was so set into their beliefs and had their life all planned out. Then with a single luck of the draw suddenly come to the realization that her entire life and what she was told is possibly entirely false. How will she deal with this realization? Will she be able to adapt? Or will she seek a way back to her former comfort? This set up is the most compelling of the three characters.
The art teams style comes together and work tremendously well with this book. Marcus To’s pencils have always been a bit cartoony and that works brilliantly in capturing Uma’s excitement and enthusiasm. The designs of the aliens are creative and the landscaping shots convey a grand atmosphere. Kniivila’s colors provide a sense of realism and grit to the panels but is still able to present the lightheartedness of Uma. The artwork in this book is top notch and probably at the top of the highlight chart for this issue.
Joyride is off to a strong and promising start. Lanzing and Kelly expertly introduce us to the characters and present their identities and personalities with engaging dialogue. Uma and Dewydd come off as people who you’d want to go on a roundtrip with and Cosanova is nicely set up for a great character study arc. The art team does a fantastic job of executing various emotions and capturing the tone that each scene called for. This is a mini-series that I’d highly recommend jumping aboard on.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach