20XX #3 is published by Image Comics, written by Jonathan Luna and Lauren Keely, art by Jonathan Luna and letters by Jonathan Luna. While last issue saw Mera being introduced to the West Siders, this issue focuses heavily on their helping her learn to control and utilize her new abilities. Along with this training, Mera gets more insight into how the world reacts to her in her new state. Happily some reactions aren’t as bad as others.
Having a character learn about sudden new powers is a difficult thing. While you want the character to learn fast enough to not hold up the story, you also want the learning process to be challenging enough to feel meaningful. It should b a triumph in and of itself. Anyone who’s ever run a race, mastered a sport, or a creative discipline should be able to relate to the character’s journey. Luna and Keely seem to appreciate this. Mera’s struggle with her abilities falls into line perfectly with how well they have had her adapt to everything else life is throwing at her. She seems to be adapting, but not without stumbles. Which is exactly as it should be.
The other big focus of 20XX #3 is on Mera’s social life. She has a reunion with her friend Diana, who shows up bearing her cat Atwood. This was a much needed moment for the book. As must of her interactions with her past has been less than stellar Diana’s appearance was a nice moment. Something I’m sure Mera certainly needed. She also spends time further exploring her budding relationship with Soriya. The two take to for a hike in the forest. This serves as a nice scenic change of pace from the urban settings that have dominated the story.
While both of the aforementioned scenes centering around these moments are handled well, I felt like they are fairly predictable. With each one going by the numbers, it felt like the moments were a bit less impactful than they might have been. The book also takes a couple of breaks from Mera to keep the reader up on the progression of events outside Mera’s point of view. These scenes help keep the larger plot moving, even as Mera’s part of the story is more character-focused.
Keely’s art in 20XX #3 has several strengths, even if it falls a little short in a key area. The design of this story continues to mesh wonderfully with the sort of grounded tale the book is telling. This fact, coupled with how genuine the emotions of the characters are portrayed within each panel Creates a mostly strong visual for the book. Where the art is a little lacking is in the choice of angles presented in most of the panels. Every angle feels very basic. A straight-on of a character’s face from a moderate distance for example. The panels never really make the reader feel like they are within the story’s world. But rather an observer standing behind a velvet rope. Several of the key moments in this book would’ve been greatly heightened by a more dynamic choice of point of view. As it is, none of the choices are bad, just not as powerful as I would have liked to see.
As it stands, 20XX #3 continues to be a solid read. The overall story and themes are on point, it just feels like it is lacking that extra creative something to push it over the top.
20XX #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.
The overall story and themes are on point, it just feels like it is lacking that extra creative something to push it over the top.