The Longest Day of the Future
by Lucas Varela
Fantagraphics Books, 2016

The Longest Day of the Future is a dystopian tale of warring megacorps. Is also a graphic novel in the strongest sense; it has no words. Aside from the occasional environmental sound -- a bang or a swoosh -- there is no text at all.

The story takes a few pages to set the scene, and is briefly boring and sometimes confusing. However, it shortly emerges that in the future we are ruled by two feuding mega-corporations, and life is a dull and meaningless plod through barely desired consumerism. Television is dominated by Itchy and Scratchy type cartoons depicting the enemy corp as a foolish and spiteful villain. Workers for one corporation are not permitted to buy products from the other. The rich occupy their time with industrial espionage, preferably in the form of giant fighting robots. One day -- The Longest Day -- an alien ship from an advanced civilization crash lands and is captured by agents blue-corp and things start to change... not necessarily for the better, but there is definitely change.

The story isn't anything new or particularly imaginative, but it is well enough done that it becomes engaging, and it certainly moves along quickly. The alien technology is quirky, amusing, and well-presented; the characters are not really likable, but are well done (particularly given that they are all mute); and the story has nice balance -- it does a good job of expressing the futility of human civilization and the pointlessness of war and greed in a neat little package. If you like dystopias, dark humor, and violence mixed with aimless tragedy, this is a pretty good story. If you also like comic books, it may well be a great story.

The story is dark, it's rather violent, and there are a few scenes with topless women -- nothing too terrible, but enough that I can't give a blanket recommendation of this book for children and teens. If you are the parent of a bloody-minded 8-12 year old they might well enjoy it, but that is a decision you will have to make on your own. I would guess that the target audience is around about 16-22 years old, although YMMV. Between the art and the surprisingly compelling characters, I recommend checking it out if you get the chance.

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