20XX: Transport #1 is published by Image Comics and is written, drawn, colored, and lettered by Jonathan Luna. In September 2021, 20XX’s creator decided to try a writing experiment. He would write a stand-alone spin-off of his comic, with fans choosing the course the book would take. After posting two pages at a time, Luna would give fans a day to vote on what happens next. The voters got the opportunity to guide high schooler Coulter through a terrifying ordeal as shooters hijacked his bus.
With the uniquely collaborative nature of 20XX: Transport #1‘s creation explained on its opening page, I found my curiosity piqued to learn how the story would play out. With the choices that voters were given at the bottom of their relevant pages, the reader can have a glimpse of what could’ve been Coulter’s tale had any given vote gone differently. Despite what I half-expected, this story delivers a coherent protagonist that follows a logical path to the story’s well-executed resolution.
The traumatic events of Coulter’s ill-fated ride to school deliver a grounded and gripping narrative. The writing’s voice does a great job of crafting a believed and measured story. Nothing is ever bombastic or over-the-top. With the story’s focus firmly on Coulter and his classmate, Nyomi, 20XX: Transport #1 keeps its story fixed on its emotional side and brings a gripping tale for the reader to experience. The only thing to note about this story is that it does take place in Luna’s 20XX world. Due to this, there are elements concerning Syms and their powers that aren’t fully explained here. As long as you are the kind of person that can accept that what just happened is what’s supposed to happen, whether it fully makes sense to you or not, you’ll be fine.
Luna’s art, throughout this work, approaches the story’s tense situation with the same measure of care and decorum as the writing. The deadly moments that surround the bus trip are presented to the reader in a way that focuses on the emotions of its main characters as they struggle to survive the story. The lighting throughout 20XX: Transport #1‘s story further builds the book’s emotional core. Luna’s choice to emphasize the fact that the sun is rising in his colors does a great job of building up some of the story’s key close-ups and emotional moments. Rounding out the book’s presentation is its lettering. The lettering does a great job of complimenting the art, as it maintains the grounded feeling of the story through its basic but effective design. It is also placed well, allowing the art to deliver its full impact unimpeded.
When all is said and done, 20XX: Transport #1 tells an emotional tale that was crafted through a unique approach. The special nature of its construction gives it an added tenseness, as the larger narrative was left to the whims of public opinion.
20XX: Transport #1 is available on August 3rd wherever comics are sold.
20XX: Transport #1
20XX: Transport #1 tells an emotional tale that was crafted through a unique approach. The special nature of its construction gives it an added tenseness, as the larger narrative was left to the whims of public opinion.