Review: ‘The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem’ #3 Is an Explosively Good Time

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Cover artwork by Andrew MacLean, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

The third issue of Gerard Way and Shaun Simon’s The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem has arrived!

National Anthem follows what was once a group of teenage exterminators that operated in the Unseen in the 90s, known as the Fabulous Killjoys — Mike Milligram, Kyle 100%, Animax, Red, and Blue. After the Analog Wars, the Killjoys and the rest of the A.K.A.s were forcefully decommissioned, their memories wiped so that they could go on to live normal lives, oblivious to the dangers that they had once faced. Fast forward to the 2000s, Mike regains his memories (and his second sight) and realizes the threats from the Unseen have returned.

In issue #2, after shaking off the inhuman police force that was tailing him, Mike met up with Red (who now goes by Sofia), only to be tracked down by the creatures of the Unseen once more. The two set off to get Sofia’s cousin’s kid Jaime from school, and they picked up Maxwell (Animax) along the way before finally making a hasty escape in the Trans Am.

Warning: Spoilers for issue #3 below!

The plot thickens in the latest issue of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem! The story continues to utilize a delicate balance of give-and-take, as issue #3 answers lingering questions while raising new ones, all the while teasing what’s still ahead for the Killjoys. Though National Anthem may have taken over a decade to bring to life, this tale of the original Killjoys was one worth waiting for.

The world of National Anthem has a cinematic feel to it — it’s full of intense action and compelling characters that are ready to jump off of the pages and onto a big screen with a gritty environment lit up by flashes of neon. This is partly due to the skilled storytelling of Way and Simon, but kudos are also owed to artist Leonardo Romero and colorist Jordie Bellaire. The two may have had their work cut out for them when this project began, considering the depth of the plot, but the final product has by and large been a complete success. Flipping through the pages of National Anthem‘s gun fights, explosions, and high speed chases is an immersive experience.

In issue #3, Maxwell was finally able to truly “rejoin” the Killjoys once again when he puked everything out of his system. We also learned that B.T. Global Marketing has likely been at work for a while now, according to Sofia’s research, attempting to “erase things and clean up society.” Things continued to fall into place when it seemed that Mike was finally about to find out exactly who Jaime is, but Sofia was interrupted before she could tell him. However, the story then lent hints of its own in the absence of Sofia’s words, as Mike and Jaime (much to Maxwell’s annoyance) had what could almost be called a bonding session over teaching the boy to shoot a ray gun.

The Killjoys still had one more member to track down — Kyle 100%. In seeking out Kyle’s location in San Francisco, the team learned that Kyle is now Kara, and she, her “no bullshit” attitude, and her blue lipstick are absolutely fantastic. Though Kara was certainly happy to escape from the dangers of her old life of running with the Killjoys — and very unwilling to hit the road with them again — she still sprung into action with the muscle memory of a trained fighter the moment that danger arrived at her doorstep.

Now that the Killjoys are mostly back together, it will be interesting to see them find their team dynamic again while they shake off the dust from their brief stint living mundane, normal lives and get back to saving the world. However, things will be very different for them this time around, because they previously operated under Mom and Dad until they were all forced into retirement. Now, since Mom and Dad are apparently behind the A.K.A. attacks, they may very well be on their own.

In the issue’s final page, B.T. Global Marketing took note of the fact that the Killjoys have found Kara and in turn made the decision to activate the Scarecrow. In the Danger Days iteration of the Killjoys universe, Scarecrows were Better Living Industries’ defense force — one of the better known ones being Korse. It remains to be seen how they will appear in this universe, but either way the Killjoys definitely have trouble hot on their tails.

See the synopsis for issue #4 below.

During a road-stop psychedelic, out of body experience, Killjoys leader Mike Milligram learns more about his past. Meanwhile, the old gangs and adversaries of our heroes are called together to hunt them down for a final showdown at an abandoned mall.

Issue #4 of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem will arrive on shelves on January 13, 2021.

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By Lindsey
Lindsey joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. She has spent a large portion of her life dedicated to her first love, photography. When she's not behind the camera, she's likely reading books and comics or dabbling in creative writing. Otherwise, she's probably yelling about Star Wars, Marvel, anime, or Ted Lasso. Contact:
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