Review: It’s a Dangerous Journey in ‘The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem’ #5 by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon


The things inside you are killing you

The penultimate chapter of Gerard Way and Shaun Simon’s The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem is here.

National Anthem has been quite a ride thus far. We’ve been following the exploits of the the original Killjoy, Mike Milligram, and his merry band of … well, they used to be teenage exterminators (until their memories were wiped and they were decommissioned). Despite what they were led to believe about the Analog Wars, something wicked still lurks in the world. And thus, against all odds, the remaining members of the gang have gotten back together and hit the road in the Trans Am once more. Oh, and a belated congratulations to Mike, because he quite literally just found out that he has a kid.

The Killjoys may be back in action, but they’re up against the remaining A.K.A.s running the show over at B.T. Global Marketing and the lingering threat of the creatures of the Unseen that are hot on their heels.

Warning: Spoilers for issue #5 below!

The dots just keep on connecting as the Killjoys close in on the final showdown! We’ve finally learned that the so-called “guardian angel” babbling what initially seemed like nonsense (though clearly it wasn’t) on the radio waves was actually a resident at a place called Granite State Psychiatric. Unfortunately, B.T. Global Marketing managed to track him down down and the ruthless Scarecrow took him out.

The death of the D.J. and the peculiar collection of daisy artwork in his room led me to do some further digging through the previous issues. In issue #1, Mike makes mention of three things when he’s explaining Mom and Dad’s recruitment process — Daisy, X-Ray, Ladybug. A sequence of images of these three things is then shown at the end of the issue when Mike kills the “tv repairman” before he can take his memories again. In issue #3 when Maxwell is vomiting the mind control out of his system, a ladybug appears on the first page. Then, when the Witch rifles through Mike’s memories in issue #4, the psychedelic artwork is littered with daisies aplenty.

Meanwhile, as we near the end it’s also worth mentioning that we’ve been given various hints about the Killjoys’ powers in relation to their codenames. For example, Mike Milligram is bulletproof and Animax is an animal with his mask on. Jaime now becomes a Monster with his green gloves, and the 100% in Kara’s name likely ties into her power levels. In this current issue, we finally got a glimpse at Sofia’s powers, which are apparently tied to Maria. Based on the stunt she pilled on the bridge into New York City, I’m willing to hedge a bet that the names Red and Blue are a play on the concept of anaglyph 3D.

Now, back to Maria. There was a brutal reveal in the final moments of issue #5 — Maria is alive (and she’s been lurking in the scenes at the B.T. Global Marketing office in New York City all along)! We received some sprinkled hints about this beforehand, such as when Sofia was perplexed to see her company’s system recognized her face as her dead twin’s, and later when she was able to tap into their joint powers to cross the bridge. Based on Maria’s conversation with Dennis, “I’m not sure if this [the wig] is on right, are we playing dress up?” B.T. Global Marketing seems to have her under their mind control as well. The panel where Mike falls to his knees in shock as Maria steps out of the building is now one of my favorites from this entire series. Dennis then drops a final bomb as the issue closes, reminding Mike, “You asked for this.”

Though the artwork throughout the series has been a consistent visual treat, artist Leonardo Romero and colorist Jordie Bellaire always have a few standout panels in each issue that take things to the next level. In issue #5 it was undoubtedly the bridge scene, in which they depicted Sofia and Maria’s wild powers at work.

I’ve found that one of the most exciting parts about reading this series is combing through the previous issues each month to find connections that I initially overlooked, especially with #5 in particular. Way and Simon have crafted multiple fascinating levels into this story, and there’s no telling what plot twists still await in the final issue that will close out National Anthem.

The sixth and final issue of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem will arrive on shelves on March 10. Check out our reviews of the previous issues in this series here.

Lindsey joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. If she's not writing or out and about with her camera, she's probably watching anime, nerding out over Star Wars, reading manga, and definitely forgetting to water her plants. And waiting for the Genshin loading screen to pop up. Contact:

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