Overpopulation has often been a subject of interest and debate within society, therefore it makes sense for the topic to influence for new ideas in fiction. Exit Generation by Sam Read and Caio Oliveira is a story is about what happens when all but a few humans leave the planet and how those remaining few survive when a new crisis arises. Is this a title which will appeal to the masses or will it end up as a comic left behind in popularity?
Publisher: Comix Tribe
Writer: Sam Read
Artist: Caio Oliveira (Art), Ruth Redmond (Colours), Colin Bell (Letters)
When the Earth struggles to maintain its increasing population, the people of the world realise that they must leave the planet as it can no longer sustain them. Therefore, the EXIT program, a mission to build spaceships to escape the Earth, is implemented to carry 95% of the world’s populace away from starvation, leaving the rest behind. However, tragedy strikes as the departing crews end up dying from a mechanical flaw, while those left behind unexpectedly flourish on the world bequeathed to them. Twenty years later the EXIT generation continue to live, only now in complete peace as everyone has what they want. But this quiet and tranquil life is not at all exciting enough for orphan Jack, so when an alien race descend to the planet intent on eating the remaining humans, he finds himself thrust into the excitement he has wished for.
Sam Read has taken the real-life concept of over-population and built an immensely interesting but compelling story around it. Exit Generation engages the reader from beginning to end, starting with a wonderfully written opening exposition to bring readers up to speed on the world they are reading about and then continuing the draw with a story which doesn’t reveal it’s advancing plot too soon. Issue one brings a lot of great ideas to the table, from the ‘big picture’ notion of a society thriving when huge chunks of it’s population disappear into space, to the little things like the idea that money is irrelevant. This extra level of detail helps to brilliantly get across the peaceful society of this new Earth through it’s fleshed out characters and also allows Read the chance to add a nice touch of humour, such as when Jack’s adopted parents attempt to get him some money for his birthday, but can only get him ‘stuff’ as there is no money to be found. The only downside for this debut issue comes in the form of the plot reveal at the end. After spending much of the issue focusing on over-population and character interaction, unfortunately it turns into a more by the numbers alien invasion book at the end which felt like a let down after all the good that had come before it.
That said, this book still comes across as a truly lovely piece of work thanks in no small part to Caio Oliveira’s art, which gives the story an incredibly optimistic feel, in places like Jack’s birthday party, through its soft, very Romita Jr-esque pencils. This is further emphasised by Ruth Redmond’s colours which provide a light, golden palette of shades to give Exit Generation a happy, Lumberjanes like look. In fact, it’s fair to say that the art is the main draw with this book for it is what really keeps the reader engaged, especially during a brilliantly conceived opening few pages. The skill of the artwork here is shown when the story reaches it’s main premise, with two separate pages showing an identical cityscape but each differing to the other in the number of characters on the page. This is what presents a truly breathtaking realisation.