REVIEW: '20XX' #1 by Lauren Keely and Jonathan Luna

SERIES PREMIERE: From JONATHAN LUNA (ALEX + ADA, GIRLS, THE SWORD) and LAUREN KEELY, in her writing debut, comes an all-new ongoing series!


This sci-fi thriller for mature readers imagines a not-so-distant future-a world of norms and syms, divided by fear. Syms, a small percentage of the population with telekinetic abilities, form gangs to survive. But division only breeds more division, and Mer and Nuon experience this firsthand as they become entangled in the often dramatic, sometimes violent, but always complex social landscape of sym gang rivalries in Anchorage, Alaska.

20XX #1

Writer: Lauren Keely, Jonathan Luna
Artist: Jonathan Luna
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: December 4, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99

Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

If you're familiar with Jonathan Luna's previous works (Alex + Ada, The Sword, Girls), you'd know he's one of the cleanest and most detailed artists working. There isn't a wasted line on any page, every emotion is conveyed perfectly, with every intricate detail carefully designed. In black and white, there isn't room for missteps or any colorist to enhance or hide imperfections. Fortunately, Luna's pencils are pretty flawless. With co-writer Lauren Keely, '20XX' is a mixed-genre story that is lean and mean with enough invention to make it stand out in a crowded dystopian category.

Set in Anchorage, Alaska, a deadly virus has run rampant killing most victims but enhancing survivors with telekinetic powers. Called Syms, they are treated as second-class citizens but find a community among the warring gangs. It's an interesting angle that adds an underlying threat to an already disenfranchised sector of society that's looked down upon despite having special powers. 

The writers smartly introduce us to Mer as the central character whose seemingly normal life is about to take a drastic turn. She's instantly relatable and we're suddenly invested in her plight. We needed someone to guide us through this dystopian world and through her the story that unfolds reveals layers upon layers. The action builds and builds until the very end resulting in quite an impressive arc within one opening issue.

'20XX' is described as a "sci-fi thriller" but it's more than that. Keely and Luna mesh elements of science-fiction, medical thriller, horror, superheroes with a subtext of a prejudicial dystopian society. This is a smart and exciting new series that looks fantastic. 

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