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Another wicked sharp and over-the-top chapter of this crazy comic series with outstanding artwork and a focus on its human core.
Writing/Plot
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Review: TRUE LIVES OF THE FABULOUS KILLJOYS: NATIONAL ANTHEM #3 Is Almost Too Smart and Bombastic For Its Own Good

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Fron writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon and artist Leonardo Romero comes the action and emotion-heavy third issue of “The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem.” This issue poses a renewed focus on its core cast of characters as the old band of Killjoys gets back together and rediscovers their trauma and will to fight. With Outstanding visual work from Romero and colorist Jordie Bellaire as well as stellar lettering from Nate Piekos, this is yet another brilliant ride of a comic from this team.

“After finding their final missing member, the reassembled Killjoys exterminating team have a shootout with an enemy gang and discover a bizarre authoritarian scheme from their corporate adversaries.”

Writing & Plot

Gerard Way’s and Shaun Simon’s script for “National Anthem” #3 focuses on getting the rest of the Killjoys back in the band and developing the emotional root of their struggle. Introducing and reintroducing new and returning members of the team is allowing the pair of writers to cover different kinds of internal and external struggles and shows these characters defeating their traumas. It’s great both in terms of a way to get into and empathize with these characters, as well as be a motivator to both overcome one’s own struggles and empathize with those of other people. Way and Simon have managed to take this sort of cliched concept of fighting the establishment and refurbishing it for the socio-political talking points of 2020. The dialogue and narration are still a flavorful combination of excellent naturalistic dialogue, crazed in-universe not-speak, and artistic poeticism. This chapter’s pacing breathes a bit more than the last two issues, as new cast members are brought into the fold and there’s actually a moment for downtime. This being said, there are still some outrageous fight scenes mixed in with the character’s own revelations and self-discoveries. The final page dialogue blurb will be a treat for both fans of the original Killjoys comic as well as die-hard MCR fans. This is another stellar and sharp script that promises much more insane fun in the coming chapters.

Art Direction

The style that Leonardo’s heavily silver-aged inspired pencils gives “National Anthem” #3 might be the biggest draw of this book from the outside, even more than Gerard Way’s star power. The classic blended with contemporary look is one that has been making a big comeback with the likes of Nick Derington and Doc Shaner, but Romero’s is distinct in it’s design. His thin lines allow for more of a more open use of color as well as the cultivation of the faux-60’s aesthetic this comic strives for. The character animations are sharp despite any sort of shadows or inked textures, and the tine details in the panels are as clear as day. Speaking of those colors, Jordie Bellaire’s palette uses a huge variety of shades that pop off of every page. Each panel has the effect of one of those overwhelming neon road signs but in a really cool way. The vivid choices in this book look stunning, and are a huge portion of why this insane series works. The lettering from Nate Piekos functions much in the same way Romero’s art does; classically inspired but with contemporary touches. The accents and effect lettering are filled in by Bellaire’s colors and blend into the environment like part of the scenery. This comic looks spectacularly spot-on, like pop-art on acid, and it’s arguably the best feature of this thus far outstanding series.

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“True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem” #3 is an impactful and turbulent ride of a chapter. Gerard Way and Shaun Simon’s script offers punk mayhem and his usual weirdness but with a topical heart that grounds the story and its characters in a place of relatable reality. The visuals from Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire are a phenomenal fusion of classic weirdness and modern techniques that make one of the coolest looking books on shelves right now. Be sure to grab this third chapter of this brilliant comic series from your local comic shop on 12/9!

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Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.