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‘Junk Rabbit: Vol. 1’ TPB (review)

Written and Illustrated by
Jimmie Robinson

Published by Image Comics

 

Jimmie Robinson’s Junk Rabbit transports readers to a dystopian future destroyed by unchecked capitalism.

During these new dark ages, a novel hero rises from mountains of consumer waste, mass homelessness, and devastating climate change. Some call the hero a myth, an urban legend, but others know that it’s the Junk Rabbit come to life!

Robinson brings a new take to the dystopian tale of how climate disaster alters our world and the heroes that rise from it.

Set in 2198, it depicts a world divided between the ultra-rich living in domed cities and people experiencing poverty in wastelands outside.

The rich enjoy life reminiscent of Britain’s Edwardian Age, while the poor scavenge in toxic rubble.

The story follows Detective Chela Omina, tasked with investigating the murder of a streamer, which leads her to the mythical Junk Rabbit.

The comic explores themes of consumerism, class disparity, and the impact of technology on society, with a narrative and artistic style that highlights the contrasts between the affluent and the impoverished—leaving the planet cluttered with consumerist waste. The wealthy live in domed cities, reminiscent of the aristocracy of Britain’s Edwardian Age, enjoying life unmarred by the toxic wastelands outside their sanctuaries​​.

The narrative begins dramatically with a live feed from the wastelands beyond the domes of Southern California, where a person is abruptly attacked by someone donning a high-tech helmet resembling a rabbit’s head. This marks the introduction of the comic’s eponymous character, Junk Rabbit, who becomes a central figure in the unfolding mystery and drama​​.

The artistic choices in Junk Rabbit are notable for their effectiveness in highlighting the stark contrasts within this future world.

The initial pages vividly depict the gulf between the rich and poor, showcasing the opulence of the domed cities and the squalor of the surrounding wastelands. Robinson uses a limited palette to distinguish these two worlds: the wastelands are beige and the domes gray, drawing attention to people and objects that emerge prominently from these backgrounds. The scenes set in the wastelands, referred to as “the Sink,” have an aesthetic resembling colored portraits on toned paper, which, while lacking depth, underscores the thematic focus on the waste created by human existence​​.

The comic’s plot revolves around Detective Chela Omina, who is tasked with investigating the murder of a media celebrity outside the domes.

This investigation leads her to confront the societal and class divides that define this dystopian world. The narrative is enriched by the depiction of the residents of the landfill, who have developed a unique culture around the worship of the rabbit and an embrace of junk and junk culture. This aspect of the story adds depth and symbolic significance, potentially serving as a commentary on societal values and the human condition​​.

Robinson’s storytelling is infused with a blend of charm and dark humor.

The visual representation of the dystopian world, especially the portrayal of the detective and the masked, faceless police, is both intriguing and satirical. It reflects contemporary cultural anxieties in a more nuanced manner than Robinson’s previous work in the Bomb Queen series. The lives of those outside the domes are given a sense of drama and gravity, underscoring the societal disparities and the human struggle within this futuristic setting​​.

However, Junk Rabbit can fairly be critiqued for its slow pace, closed setting (readers only get a glimpse of life on this broken version of Earth), and reliance on established post-apocalyptic tropes.

While the groundwork for an engaging series is evident, the comic must delve deeper into contemporary cultural anxieties to stand out. Otherwise, it risks being overshadowed by similar works in the genre of dystopian fiction.

For what it’s worth, in my mind, if I were to give the book a letter grade, that would be a ‘B,’ reflecting its potential and the areas where improvement is needed to make a more significant impact​​.

In summary, Junk Rabbit presents a visually striking and thematically rich world that invites readers to contemplate the consequences of consumerism, technological dependency, and societal division. While it has its strengths in setting and visual storytelling, its success will depend on how it develops its narrative and explores the themes it has introduced.

Final Score: 4 out of 5

 

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