20XX #1 is published by Image Comics. It is written by Lauren Keely with co-writing and art by Jonathan Luna.
No time is wasted in kicking off this new, sure to be great series. By the end of this issue, my hopes have officially been set high. As with many supernatural-y stories, we start with our totally normal protagonist, Meria. Meria lives in an apartment with her cat, Atwood, and is a successful assistant editor. The morning her life changes forever, she is told about her promotion to full-blown editor, but as you can probably guess, this isn’t the event that changes her life forever.
We are shown through Meria’s eyes that there is some kind of technology within humans now – her perspective almost looks like a phone screen, showing the time, weather, and signal strength. We also see that outside her apartment, the people of this world are wearing half-masks that are reminiscent of hazmat masks and her co-worker, Diana, tells her about how a man she was seeing has “it”. Which sounds like an STI but its worse (or potentially cooler, if you survive that is).
And this, is what changes Meria’s life forever, as she suddenly begins coughing, blood pours from her eyes, and she’s rushed to a quarantined facility where they tell her she only has a 1% chance of survival – and survive, she does. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it. Meria now has STS (Selective Telekinesis Sensing), which personally I think would be super cool but in this world she is now a pariah. With no one else to turn to, she begins to seek out the only other Sym (STS positive person) she knows, her cousin, Lucas. The problem is, outside of her obvious predicament, is that Lucas isn’t exactly easy to find, and he’s got some enemies.
I absolutely love the aesthetic of 20XX #1. I love that the cover is so colorful and the inside is this grainy grey that reminds me of watching old TV shows on my grandma’s set. Jonathan Luna’s art, even colorless, is gorgeous. I like this world he and Lauren Keely have set up. It’s clearly in the future but it’s not overbearingly futuristic and since the title doesn’t specify, it’s probably closer than we might think. There are familiar issues like gang violence, but it’s heightened by these telekinetic abilities and it brings a whole new perspective on some current philosophical debates. Syms are branded, they can’t live normally, and it is illegal to use their abilities because they could hurt others (and some of them do) but is it fair to brand every sym a threat? To tell them they can’t use their abilities even though they haven’t done anything wrong? I’m really excited to dive into this and more in the coming issues. But for now, we just have to wait until next month.
OVERALL SCORE: 8.5 / 10
Make sure to pick up a copy of 20XX #1 from your local comic shop!