Join the Future #3 continues our journey following Clem, who might as well be named Arya, as she fights the large urban blight to defend the agrarian ideal. Apparently the agrarian ideal requires some prolonged discussion about the quality of various guns as Trader begins to train Clem. Of course the book seeks to make clear that Clem is a strong and independent heroine. She earns her keep and her ammunition by…cooking. The idea that the only skill a female has to barter is her cooking betrays the strange nostalgia of this book. Is the agrarian ideal this book propagates really empowering to females? Is the only source of a female’s empowerment her ability to cook? One doesn’t want to focus on these details, unfortunately the issue gives us nothing else to focus on as the only action occurs in the final pages.
The artwork in this issue does improve significantly with Piotr Kowalski’s work becoming more detailed and his facial work increasing in clarity. The colors by Brad Simpson perfectly complement the work and the combination does create a dynamism and carries the reader through the conversation between Clem and Trader which consumes most of the issue. There are some panels which look less polished than others, but the overall artistic effect is strong throughout the issue.
Although this issue is fairly limited in scope, the final pages do show promise of a more dynamic path for future issues. Clem attempts to attack the sheriff and she then is momentarily rescued by Trader. All this is turned on it’s head as we learn that Trader sold out to the City long ago to save his son. He then betrays Clem and takes her weapon in exchange for salvage rights. This leaves Clem in a much more interesting place for next issue.
In many ways the limitations of this issue and of the overall scope of the series lie within the muddled thematic elements themselves. Are we meant to favor an ideal of an old-fashioned life, even though this life would potentially leave our protagonist in a much worse place where her only current value is her ability to cook? Clearly Clem simply wants vengeance, but she is the agent for keeping things the same in a situation where only change truly frees her. Clearly this book has a lot more to say and more twists coming. Future issues may help clarify why Clem should value the society she is fighting for, even as she battles out of a need for vengeance.
Writing: 3 of 5 stars
Art: 4.2 of 5 Stars
Colors: 4.2 of 5 stars
Overall: 3.8 of 5 stars
Writer: Zack Kaplan
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Colors: Brad Simpson
Publisher: Aftershock Comics