A tension filled page-turner that will have you biting your nails and questioning everything you know.
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GENERATION GONE #1 opens up with a beautiful, starry expanse of sky. And this new Image series has a tag line that is impossible to ignore: “Three young hackers with nothing to lose. A secretive scientist with a plan. One final job. What happens when you’re poor, angry, and get superpowers you never asked for?” With that in mind, this opening page seems to set the stage for the rest of the story. The sky and stars are so much bigger than life itself and yet lying in the middle of the field is a young couple talking about their relationship. It starts us off with a nice parallel of the juxtaposition between larger-than-life stakes and just being a kid.

Generation Gone #1

Image Courtesy of Image Comics.

READ: What else has Image been up to? Check out our article on Image’s pride month covers!

Hacking Security Systems … and the Human Code?

Writer Ales Kot tells the story of GENERATION GONE #1 in two parts. One surrounds three young adults, Nick, Baldwin, and Elena. While they seem like normal kids on the outside, they do something unusual when they get together… They hack into high-security systems for fun. Of course, it’s not just about fun. As the story unravels we see snapshots of their lives in which money is a uniting factor. They all need it for one reason or another. In fact, their ultimate goal is to hone their hacking abilities until they are able to make a big break by hacking into a real bank.

Running in tandem to their story is the story of Mr. Akio, a brilliant mind employed by the military for various R&D projects. He spends the entire first half of the issue pitching his latest project: Project Utopia. In a truly beautiful fashion, he describes rewriting the human code like programming to enhance capabilities. Essentially, he proposes a project to create superhumans. His pitch is rebuffed, however, and his superiors forbid him from working on it in favor of pursuing a more realistic, surveillance based one called Airstrip One.

Generation Gone #1Image Courtesy of Image Comics.

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Merging Together

The two plot lines in GENERATION GONE #1 come together when we discover that Mr. Akio has been tracking the three young hackers for some time and has monitored their operations. He suggests the three of them as candidates for Airstrip One. Meanwhile, Elena, Nick, and Baldwin are getting ready for their big moment. The tension is palpable on the pages as each of them gets ready to complete the job that will set them up for life.

Mr. Akio watches the three from his surveillance room as they try to hack into the bank’s system. Something goes wrong and strange code begins to flash on the screen. The three panic and start to turn off their devices. Then something terrible happens. The most visually arresting pages of the comic follow, depicting all three of them expelling what looks like blood from their eyes, ears, and mouths. Meanwhile, Mr. Akio sits back in horror.

Generation Gone #1Image Courtesy of Image Comics.

It seems unlikely that any of the kids would survive something so graphic. However, the last panel depicts Elena rising from the couch. She stumbles through the room, wondering what happened. The amount of intrigue that the last panel leaves readers with is insane. The sheer number of questions left unanswered and the promise of these two storylines further intertwining makes this a heck of a strong start for this story.

READ: Mr. Akio explores the similarities between science and magic in GENERATION GONE #1. So does ETHER VOL. 1! Find out more here!

The Power of Showing, Not Telling

There are so many strengths to GENERATION GONE #1, but one of the most prevalent is the characterizations. The three hackers are beautifully diverse in personality and motivation. Because of this, we care about them instantly even if we don’t necessarily like all of them. They all feel very real based on their dialogue and their interactions with each other. Even still, some of the most compelling insights on these characters come from the panels where there is no dialogue at all. We get to see each of these characters go home for the night and watch their rituals without any text at all. We are shown how they act and who they are, not told. It makes for a very powerful experience and connects us to them right away.

Generation Gone #1

Image Courtesy of Image Comics.

Their age and situations are also incredibly relatable. They’re young, broke and they sit on the floor daydreaming about what they’re going to do with their money once they obtain it. Maybe not all millennials are super hackers on government radars but GENERATION GONE #1 creates a strong sense of kinship between young readers and these characters.

READ: Interested in more comics aimed at millennials? Read our analysis of Ms. Marvel! 

GENERATION GONE #1 Lets the Art Do the Talking

The art in GENERATION GONE #1 is absolutely phenomenal as well. With a story as action packed and suspenseful as this, it’s imperative that the art does a lot of the talking. This issue does not feel too bogged down by dialogue even though the interactions are the main focus of the story. The art by André Lima Araújo and coloring by Chris O’Halloran is fresh and simple to help move the story along.

Generation Gone #1

Image Courtesy of Image Comics

The art is strong enough that at times it is left to stand alone and does so powerfully in many places during the story. In fact, some of the most powerful panels of this first issue have no text at all and allow the art to weave the narrative and inform us by movement and color alone. The level of detail complements the story in very deliberate ways that give context to the writing. The art is beautiful both in the slower pace of the beginning as well as the break-neck speed of the last few panels where gore and horror reign supreme.

Read: Discover how Hulu’s RUNAWAYS could shatter one millennial stereotype.

Final Thoughts

I’m always a sucker for stories about kids with superpowers, but even someone like me can admit that the trope has been beaten to death. That being said, GENERATION GONE #1 was gripping from start to finish. The characterization is complex and rich. The story is just grounded enough in reality, which makes the scope of it very compelling. In addition, the expertly crafted tension sucks you in and leaves you begging for more.

This story has the potential to be a fast paced thriller. It has lots of room for character growth and for nuances on the teen superhero genre. The tone of this story will set this series apart from others. We can’t wait to see how it develops!

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