I first found out about New-Gen when visiting Marvel Comics’ website a few weeks ago. Under their news section I found a press release for New-Gen, as well as the first three issues of the comic book in digital form. Although not an original concept of Marvel Comics, the New-Gen team of A.P.N.G. Enterprises, Inc. headed by Matonti brothers (Chris and J.D.) and Julia Coppola has successfully mustered the support of Marvel Comics to distribute their comics and lend a hand to this promising new venture.
New-Gen revolves around the concept of nanotechnology and its manipulation for both its potential good and evil ends. Pivoting upon the characters of Gabriel and Deadalus (a.k.a. Sly) the storyline of New-Gen focuses on a power struggle between the ideological uses and ultimate goals of using nanotechnology. Located in another dimension, tangential to Earth, the New-Gen world is one of utopian harmony and social balance. Having created a perfected form of nanotech the two scientists, Gabriel and Deadalus shape the world in which they live to create a new and better world.
Despite their initial commonalities as fellow scientists, Deadalus begins to have much more grandiose visions for not only their world, but for others as well. Juxtaposed to the stories initial portrayal of a utopian world, is the quickly realized schism between Gabriel and Deadalus, one in which Deadalus perceives nanotechnology as a tool for gaining power and where Gabriel sees it as a means of creating balance and order.
Part one, of the six issue comic book series, dives right into this clash between protagonist Gabriel and antagonist Deadalus. The storyline does a good job of establishing the present events of a battle between Gabriel and Deadalus, while also punctuating the battle with a brief back story of Gabriel and Deadalus’s past relationship. It is in this battle that the ideological differences between Gabriel and Deadalus are brought to the surface. The catalyst is Deadalus’s release of nanobots amongst the populous of New-Gen, infusing an entire generation of “New-Genians” with nanotech powers and physical transformations. As a result, Gabriel exiles Deadalus to another dimension and begins his work towards helping those affected by the nanobots, including Deadalus’s own daughter. Likewise, in an effort to protect his own children from the transformative effects of the nanobots, Gabriel sends his twin sons to Earth where they are raised by two sentient beings that have themselves been manifested out of the nanobots. Despite his good intentions in trying to protect his children, another rift soon arises between Gabriel and his wife Thea. Thea expresses her grief and regret at having been deprived of her only children by putting on a cold demeanor towards Gabriel and ultimately making his decision that much more painful.
Deadalus’s story continues in the underworld to which he has been banished by acquainting us with the barren environment in which he is now captive and the strange creatures that live there. Twisted with the rage of his exile and the deprivation of power to which he feels he is entitled, Deadalus soon realizes his ability to control the creatures that reside in the underworld and twist them to his will. Utilizing their ability to eat through the metal and rock of the underworld, Deadalus finds a way out of his underworld prison and into, what he eventually finds out to be, new and parallel dimensions.
In creating the 6 issue series, New-Gen creators A.P.N.G. Enterprises, Inc. solicited the help of debut artists Abdul H. Rashid as their pencilist and inker, Alexander Cutri as their colorist, and Matias Timarchi of Altercomics Studios as their letterer. As an artistic team, they have come together to create a beautifully rendered world that speaks not only to one’s imagination, but also to an emotional understanding of the story. Uniquely drawn in its somewhat cinema-graphic style, the artists of New-Gen have done well in their efforts to create motion within a motionless medium. Furthermore, the articulation of color serves well as a visual reminder to the seamless nuances of each panel. Likewise, facial expression and body language are conveyed meaningfully to depict a storyline that is rife with struggle. Working together for the first time, the artist of the New-Gen project have found a compelling voice through their collective talent, bringing to life a concept that seems to have no bounds. In all, the effect is one of vitality and great potential for future developments. Tending towards the optimistic side, this seems to be a very promising venture that A.P.N.G. has set off on. Counter to what I have read from some less hopeful readers, Marvel has taken a strong enough interest in New-Gen to distribute it nation-wide and based upon what I have seen of the subsequent issues, it is definitely not something to be pushed aside.
With New-Gen’s imaginative and engaging storyline, it is a refreshing and optimistic view of the future. Such refreshing reminders of hope and non-apocalyptic scenarios are seldom seen in the realm of comic books anymore. Instead of reinforcing pervading feelings of helplessness about the future, New-Gen walks a different line by infusing discussions of environmental stewardship, social responsibility, ethics, and cutting edge technology (nanotechnology) into its overall concept to make for a more positive view of our future world. However, this does not go to say that the creators of New-Gen are oblivious to the realities currently facing humanity, on the contrary they seem to be embracing those realities by presenting them to a younger audience, in a medium they can relate to, and giving them the hope needed to make the necessary changes for the future. Fusing entertainment and socially important issues into a cohesive mix, New-Gen has the potential to be a catalyst for change and the bulwark upon which a new generation of socially conscious individuals can be borne.