Saturday, February 11, 2012

2020 Visions Trade Paperback Review

2020 Visions
DC Comics
Softcover Trade Paperback
296 pages
$19.99 (2005)
$29.95 (2004) Hardcover
ISBN 9780973703993

Contributors: Jamie Delano, Frank Quitely, Warren Pleece, James Romberger, Steve Pugh, introduction by Richard Kadrey, and covers by John Eder, Stephen John Phillips

Reprints: 2020 Visions #1-12 (of 12)

Synopsis: The world of 2020 America is a fractured mess as corporate culture has run rampant and individual liberty is an afterthought.  Four tales paints us a distressing picture of our possible future:
  • Lust for Life - Alex Woychek at 70 years of age is a former pornographic book publisher put out of business by the female political ruling elite of New York City.  The privileged financial drones working in the global economic market have walled (Wall Street - get it?) themselves within bio-domes and shut out the poor underclass.  The mean streets of the city have become a hot-bed of fear and loathing as antibiotic-resistant viruses threaten to bring about a new century of plague.  If you've got the cold sweats and look remotely contagious, it's off to the Ellis Island containment camp and you're never heard from again.  Bad news for Alex when a pavement diver splashes him with a nasty bug.  Now he's got a fever, nothing to lose, and a raging hard-on.   
  • La Tormenta - Florida has seceded from America and is now run by Christian cartel families.  Pollution and disease have caused birth rates to plummet across the nation and Florida is home to a heavy trade in baby trafficking.  Meet Jack Atlanta, a sexually-ambiguous private investigator who likes to wear a bra and pencil-thin mustache.  She's also addicted to virtual porn and her dealer's sister has disappeared.  In order to preserve her kinky fetish lifestyle Jack must dredge up her buried past and go undercover to find the girl.  Too bad she falls right into the path of a serial killer named "El Escultor" - The Sculptor. 
  • Renegade - Ethan was born with a twin brother, Adam, who got the good looks and luck of the pair.  Adam was adopted while Ethan with his deformed eye was shipped out to a Christian work-farm.  He ran away to Islamic Detroit and eventually ran afoul of the law only to be shipped to a Montana militia.  Bad luck follows him and soon he's on a death march to save the ranch owner's son from a group of techno-Indians living in the hills.  Never fitting in anywhere, will Ethan find peace or die a lonely death calling out his brother's name? 
  • Repro-Man - Adam is a prize stud in antiseptic Southern California where sex is outlawed and rich women pay loads of money for his frozen loads.  He's a perfect physical specimen and owned by Nurtura Corp.  Only the rich can afford to finance offspring and it's illegal for the poor to breed (most of the men are sterile anyway).  M.A.M.B.A. are a female resistance force who spring Adam so he can impregnate the masses, but they're in for a rude awakening when Nurtura's armed forces come calling.  Now Adam and the surviving female guerrilla fighter are on the run.
Pros: Delano's writing is decent, art by Quitely and Pugh is okay

Cons: Black and white - the original series was in color, art is rough and gritty, covers are photo-realistic and not great

The only color is on the cover

Mike Tells It Straight: Delano paints us a four-part dystopian future where society has degraded into a socio-political nightmare.  The "Millennium of Women" has taken over a fractured America through secession and civil war.  Reproduction is a challenge both legally and physically (due to widespread male sterilization from environmental pollution). 

The main characters of each story are linked which makes the four stories mildly congruous.  It's an interesting read, but the art isn't great despite naming Quitely among the artists.  He rose to stardom after this series and his art just didn't shine brightly here.  The black-and-white format really killed this collected edition for me.  Obviously cost was an issue and full-color format was sacrificed to get this edition printed. 

I don't recommend getting this book unless you're a big Vertigo or Delano fan, but if you do - pick up the original color issues instead of the collection.

TO BUY and Recommendations: