REVIEW: ‘Joy Operations,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Joy Operations #1

Joy Operations #1 is written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated and colored by Stephen Byrne, and lettered by Joshua Reed. It is published by Dark Horse Comics under Bendis’ Jinxworld imprint. Years in the future, the world’s major cities are now owned by major corporations and called “Trusts.” Each Trust is protected by a highly trained operative known as an “en.VOI” who possesses bleeding-edge technology. en.VOI Joy Corrigan is thrust into a web of mystery when a mysterious voice that only she can hear encourages her to rise up against her employer Kathryn Mentuse, who apparently will utilize tech that has dangerous results.

This comic marks the first salvo in a partnership between Bendis and Dark Horse, with Dark Horse set to be the exclusive home of Jinxworld’s comic titles. It’s not hard to see why such a deal was struck. Bendis is a hot commodity in the comic book world, having created fan-favorite characters including Miles Morales and Jessica Jones for Marvel and revealing Clark Kent’s identity as Superman to the DC Universe. However, that same sense of energy is lacking from this comic, which boasts one of the most confusing scripts I’ve read in my life. Readers are literally dropped into the middle of this world with no chance to get their bearings, which is a massive no-no in science fiction. Sci-fi tales from Blade Runner to Star Trek take the time to set up their world, slowly easing the audience into things, and this book could have used that.

The idea of Joy having another voice in her head is interesting, but even that falls flat as said voice grows to be immensely annoying. From dropping a metric ton of alphabet bombs to incessant commentary, the bit wears thin five pages in and shows the dark side to Bendis’ trademark rapid-fire dialogue. The best comparison I have is that it feels like Charlie Day is narrating the story. And between you and me, Charlie Day’s energy should only be experienced on screen or in small doses.

Artwise, the book looks visually stunning. Byrne, who previously worked with Bendis on Wonder Twins, has the time of his life building a sci-fi landscape. Joy is clad in a sleek white and black suit that resembles a hi-tech ninja; she can even generate a blade of energy that resembles the Omni-Tool from Mass Effect. She also fights a Gerxhart, a hovering orb surrounded by a mass of writhing pink tentacles that fuses Lovecraftian horror with hi-tech advancements. The city itself is shrouded in a pale green hue, drawing readers’ eyes to the fight between Joy and the Gerxhart. Byrne also has the chance to play with page layouts, shifting from splash pages to a carefully layered series of panels as the issue goes on.

Joy Operations #1 is a mixed bag, boasting a confusing and lackluster script but interior art and worldbuilding that’s extremely impressive. I hope that the rest of the series, and Bendis’ other Jinxworld efforts, have a better debut.

Joy Operations #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


Joy Operations #1
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TL;DR

Joy Operations #1 is a mixed bag, boasting a confusing and lackluster script but interior art and worldbuilding that’s extremely impressive. I hope that the rest of the series, and Bendis’ other Jinxworld efforts, have a better debut.