What do back alley ninjas, law-breaking artists and egomaniacal billionaire perverts have in common? They are just a few of the key elements to Dark Horse Comics’ Tomorrows, scribed by Curt Pires with issue #1 rendered by Jason Copeland, though apparently future issues will be a round robin of other artists.
There are any number of adjectives that come to mind with a storyline such as this one: Dystopian, nihilistic, apocalyptic, Orwellian. Pick your favorite. The basic gist is that the world has reached a point where art is illegal and assembly by the underground creatives is punishable by death. This twisted justice is meted out by robots who bear just the slightest resemblance, primarily through their appendages to Doctor Octopus, but each eerily smiling “face” is an identical image on what appears to be a monitor. Dystopian indeed.
Elsewhere the immensely powerful Mr. Hughes of Atlas, Inc. is seeking a fast track to get Icarus, what seems to be a super computing system online. His patience is wearing thin and he expresses his displeasure when part of the underground movement successfully sabotage it by shooting one of his board members and coolly directing another to see about filling the vacancy he’s just created.
The members of the underground are, quite literally, underground in a secret and self-sustaining compound complete with their own supercomputer named “Warhol.” I realize I’m dating myself here, but the first thing that leaps to mind is a version of Max Headroom when Warhol is shown on the flat screen.
We learn more of the whys and wherefores of the Tomorrows with Zoey at the hideout: “The resistance. We’re artistic terrorists if you want to get specific. We attempt to free people. Free information. We’re the last line of defense in a world gone to hell.”
Thus is the conflict established and naturally their prime nemesis is none other than Hughes and Atlas and they are determined to derail everything the wealthy industrialist is pursuing.
At one point Zoey is led by an ethereal being into a surreal environment with a talking chimp and an encounter with her late, lost love and is later addressed by another self-declared deceased individual in a long beard and domino mask.
Trippy? Oh, is this book ever trippy. It brought to mind many elements, as well, mostly from movies of a certain genre. I was vaguely reminded of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey; my first reading of the novel Red Dawn and the original Mad Max. There was a reference to Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World and even Russ Heath and Roy Lichtenstein. Tomorrows, therefore, contains a lot of imagery, some of it a touch on the disturbing side, but in a world like this one, how could you expect anything less? At certain points in the bottom gutters, “keywords” are also shared, perhaps foreshadowing something down the road.
This series looks like it has potential, at least to this reader, who has often been drawn to these sorts of storylines. Be sure to give Tomorrows a try. The last thing you will be is bored.