A convoy enters the now-independent state of Detroit. Fighters from within the city attack, stop the convoy, and kill the soldiers inside. However, four young children survive. These children have extraordinary abilities and are being ordered by a man only called “Father” from a command center outside Detroit. These four children age whenever they use their abilities, meaning their time and power are limited. They are ordered to kill the leader of Detroit: Ike Mercy, who also has psychic abilities.
2021: Lost Children #1 is a heavy and dark sci-fi story. As you could guess from that premise, the children are tragic figures throughout the story. They blindly serve Father, and they are aware of the shortened life with which they have been cursed.
The comic doesn’t drill this point home early, allowing the reader to simply witness the horror and understand how warped and morbid the premise is. The drawback is that you are left with deadpan and dull characters. Mercy is a generic self-proclaimed messiah, Father is a cold controller, and the children are interchangeable. There is little interesting about them as people. There seems to be intent in this, but it still leaves you with a slow-moving comic and droning characters.
That’s a shame because the moral ambiguity is acknowledged, and the premise is interesting. You want to see this comic soar, but it doesn’t quite make it there.
The artwork doesn’t help. It lives in the uncanny valley and sets up shop. Stephane Bervas’s work is 3D-rendered and reminiscent of Mike Deodato Jr. but shading and detailing on top of it is scarce. Figures are left bare and bald with only occasional marks or further detailing. This results in the kids being visually interchangeable for the most part too. Massimo Rocca’s color art helps somewhat, but even it doesn’t do anything especially creative. This all makes the artwork sound outright bad; it isn’t. It just needs something to set it apart from other 3D-rendered artists.
2021: Lost Children #1 is far from a bad comic, and it has a lot of good ideas. It just needs more personality, both in terms of the characters and the visuals. I find myself liking a lot of it and ready to recommend it. However, that recommendation is tentative and relies on you being ready for a slower and longer comic with a price hike. If you’re up for that, feel free to check it out. Even then, it’s not a must-read.
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