cover image Joy Operations

Joy Operations

Brian Michael Bendis and Stephen Byrne. Dark Horse, $24.99 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-1-5067-2946-6

Bendis (the Ultimate Spider-Man series) and Byrne (the Legion of Super-Heroes series) team up for a sci-fi allegory in the vein of Blade Runner, with resonant themes but an overwritten script. In a futuristic technocratic world, Joy Corrigan is an EN.VOI, a security guard and troubleshooter for Kathryn Menteuse, head of the Jonando Trust, one of five companies that control this civilization. Devoted to Menteuse, Joy is staggered by the revelation that Jonando secretly intends to create a sixth Trust using dangerous and untested tech. Now, with the help of Hampton, a consciousness from a competing Trust that’s been implanted into Joy’s psyche (against her will), the EN.VOI must take down Menteuse and risk herself, her job, and her family. Savvy concepts and world-building fill in the background leading up to the battle showdown. Bold artwork by Byrne heightens the sweep of the narrative with zippy fight sequences and inventive character design. The script by Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man) spotlights intriguing themes of technology vs. humanity, but Bendis’s trademark verbosity gets in the way of fluid storytelling. Many pages are devoted to Joy standing around and arguing with the voice of Hampton. There’s nifty ideas here, but readers will feel buried under an exposition mountain. (Aug.)