Group Review: Tomorrowland #1

We’ve had a group review for just about every new Titan Comics title and here we are again covering their latest new series Tomorrowland. If you’re unfamiliar with the format, basically each of the writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will assign the book a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass and then give a reason why. First though, let’s find out what the issue is about straight from Titan’s site: Meet Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, two young DJs – and the public faces of the world-renowned Tomorrowland festival - as they are drawn into an impossible adventure to save the vital spark of creativity!

Over the course of this retina-blasting fantasy adventure, the pair find themselves sucked into an eternal war between two worlds - a battle waged between the forces of creation and destruction for the energy we all carry inside us. It's a war we're rapidly losing – but can two DJs turn the tide over the course of just one festival? There's only one way to find out!

Carl: Buy

I’m revealing the judgment on this book in my opening line of the review: BUY IT.  Brilliantly illustrated, Tomorrowland takes the digital illustration process and makes art out of each panel.  As the story opens, a breach in the sky releases monsters down on people below.  The crispness of the pencils coupled with the excellent coloring had me enjoying each panel from the onset.

Dimitri believes he just dreamed the whole episode.  When Shakespeare appears, the young man finds out that the dream was just predication for what will pass.  Twisting the narrative further, Dimitri wakes from his dream within a dream to find that he and his brother are in Belgium to DJ at Tomorrowland.

After a short stop with a fortuneteller, the boys get busy on their decks.  Somehow, the music opens up portals allowing mythical creatures into the world through rifts.  Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger amasses a monster army. Dimitri’s dream comes to pass with some unexpected results.

As mentioned at the start, give this book a look for the art.  The story works adequately, but the illustrations sell the book.  I hope the story picks up for issue two, or Tomorrowland will lose my attention fast.

Samantha: Borrow

I dig the whole past, present, future bit in this comic. And I think the two brothers are a perfect fit to what this comic is going for. They are hip and have that carefree attitude about life. I think the first issue could have some more strength though. Having some dudes keeping away monsters with their DJing skills is a little weird for me. I get that they are the keepers of music but having no background on what music means to the future or time gives the music no relevance. Usually I like when the story jumps you in and you have no idea where it is going. Here I needed some stability to understand what keepers of music is all about.

The art is bright and refreshing in a sense. All the creatures stand out, but obviously a unicorn stabbing monsters in the throat has got to be on the top of your list. I like how Titan Comics brings in classic people from the past too; Einstein, Shakespeare, and Oscar Wilde. It just goes to show that you can do anything in comics and no thing or person is out of reach to explore.

The story has some good points, so I say “borrow” this issue and then steal it if the next issue turns out to be a little more structured.

TomorrowLand_001_Cover_web.jpg.size-600Ed: Buy

I’m going to be generous and rate this comic as a “buy”, though I do see some problems with it. I think it’s likely to polarize opinion, with its pared down art style and unusual choice of genres to blend there’s going to be readers who love it and others who hate it. There’s also the matter of the dialogue: where its greatest success is that it is functional in service of the story and not at all overbearing its greatest failing is in the vocal tics of the various characters, which are unconvincing at the best of times. Paul Jenkins is a damn good writer, as evidenced by his impressive resume (including the likes of The Sentry and Inhumans), but I don’t think he’s got a handle on his protagonists’ voices yet.

Firmansyah and Maulana’s art strongly resembles the style of Humberto Ramos, with the same kind of cartoonish exaggerations and an extremely confident line, only the backgrounds are more simplified and leave the digital colors to do a lot of heavy lifting. It lacks subtlety but more than makes up for in sheer accessibility, and along with the dance festival setting and Jenkins’s unburdened script Tomorrowland is a bright and breezy read.

In spite of a few minor misgivings, I had a lot of fun with Tomorrowland. It’s not the most sophisticated or moving of comics (so don’t expect Phonogram) but it effectively captures the bacchanalian excess and youthful energy of music festivals and redirects those forces into the opening of a fantasy-genre type of hero’s quest. It’s hard to know for sure whether this series will prove to be a wild ride or turn out to be very annoying, but at this point the first issue is worth a punt if you’re looking for a light-hearted addition to your pulls this Wednesday.

Dustin: Buy

I didn’t fall in love with this issue right away like I usually do with Paul Jenkins writing, but I did find that I couldn’t put it down. I’m a huge supporter of music in comics I love stories that find interesting ways to center around them (which is why I love Bandthology so much) and this story did bring a musical element that I haven’t seen done in comics before.

That doesn’t mean the issue was perfect. I really don’t have a great understanding of the brothers and really all I know is that they’re role is going to be something important. I liked that they were each referred to as “one of two.” I’m curious as hell about this series which is why I’m giving it the “buy”, but I doubt it will be for every comic reader. That’s okay, but if you’re willing to stick around and let that curiosity grow, I have a feeling this is going to be a pretty cool series.

Connor: Buy

The first thought that came to me when I was reading this: BRIGHT COLORS! This is one of those different stories that I can recommend but not towards anyone in particular. What's revealed in the story so far is interesting, forces of creativity versus forces of chaos. And the art is sweet too.

If you want something that isn't the same old same old than ye hit it up, buy it even. I get a feeling I'll like this so check it.

Score: 4 Buy’s and a Borrow

Writer: Paul Jenkins

Artists: Alti Firmansyah and Beny Maulana of Stellar Labs

Publisher: Titan Comics

Price: $3.99

Release Date: 7/24/13