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By Jarrod Jones. Superpowers are a myth. Credible journalism is a joke. Social media is a toxic wasteland. The world is a terrifying place.
That’s the world of Brilliant Trash, the latest debut from AfterShock Comics, and if it feels at all familiar to you, that’s likely because it’s supposed to. It’s Tim Seeley, scouring the zeitgeist after Revival and Nightwing to discover a bit of truth. And what he’s found should scare the hell right out of you.
Brilliant Trash is satire to its core, the veil between our reality and its artifice membrane-thin. Twitter is “Kitter”, Buzzfeed is “Chugfeed”, etc. It’s that kind of book. The world is caught in the iron grip of media, and it has grown weak under the weight of its fetters. Civil unrest has been whittled down to an ironic shrug. People tune into radical reality tv and tweet about the atrocities contained within with a calloused apathy. “Fake news” isn’t a buzz term — it’s the news. Hyper-sexual clickbait is easier to produce than genuine truth. Rose-tinted shades are in.
It’s evocative, is what I’m trying to say.
But it’s still fiction, produced for those who enjoy a bit of harsh in their escapism. The sci-fi angle gives the book a crucial dimension and, if it’s going where I think it’s going, a tinge of hope, too. If you’re the type of comics reader who knows “Children of the Atom” is just code for “Children of the Revolution”, you’ll probably get a real kick out of this. In that regard, Brilliant Trash #1 is a strong debut.
Meet Kennedy Avis, wearisome click-bait provocateur and proud of it. Kennedy has zero reservations about being a part of the problem. When a considerable portion of Jerusalem is wiped off the map on livestream, Kennedy presumes it’s a hoax, and thus chokes the horror that should come from such an event dead cold. She even speaks in hackneyed tweet-speak, draping herself in her own banality as though it were armor: “No one knows the truth anymore unless they’ve lived it.” Priscilla Petraites, the artist of Brilliant Trash, has the most fun with Kennedy; she gives the character the most frustrating demeanor a character like this could have and it appears that she relishes the opportunity. With her hipster frames and put-on socialist street gear, Kennedy is all dismissive hand-waves, smug glances. She is, as Kennedy would probably put it, very psh-aw.
If there’s a bit of justice in this world, and Tim Seeley is careful enough to make sure that there is, this means Kennedy is primed for quite the fall. The conglomerates hold the power over the people; they jam their stiletto heels into our foreheads, keeping us in a state of enraptured subjugation. There are children with palantírs for minds, drained of their innocence by these entities and their agendas. Turns out there are superpowers out there after all, beyond even Apple or Google. It’s all very Akira. It should make one hell of a story.
Hopefully Kennedy Avis survives long enough to tell it. Inquiring minds want to know.
Written by Tim Seeley.
Art by Priscilla Petraites.
Colors by Marco Lesko.
Letters by Marshall Dillon.
7.5 out of 10
‘Brilliant Trash’ #1 hits stores November 15.