It’s like Mad Max, but with Vespas.
Evan Munday’s Quarter-Life Crisis: Only the Good Die Yung is the first book in a new graphic novel series set in a post-apocalyptic Toronto where only twenty-five-year-olds have survived. In this dystopian future, mindless robots control Queen’s Park, a vile organization runs the Rogers Centre, and brainless thugs in bad suits roam Bay Street. (This is fiction, right?) The story is told from the perspective of Harper Yung, a former record-store clerk and quintessential hipster. Since the disaster, he and his brother Aaron have taken refuge in the “box of doom” over the ruins of OCAD, and the two stay alive by scavenging for copper to trade with the Rogers, a paramilitary outfit that controls most of the resources left in the downtown core.
To its benefit, the book doesn’t take itself too seriously: bad guys ride around on Vespas, gangs use deadly games of Dance Dance Revolution to resolve disputes, and Aaron can control and power machines with his mind. He and Harper use this ability to access their OCAD base via a secret elevator and to power their streetcar. In a smart move, Munday only provides the context necessary to set up the story—what happened to the city is left up to the imagination of the reader, and Lost-style flashbacks are used sparingly to describe our heroes’ lives before the disaster.
For Torontonians, there’s a lot to like about Quarter-Life Crisis. Munday has done his research, and faithfully recreates dozens of recognizable locations. Unfortunately, the story sometimes uses the setting as a crutch, and if you’re not familiar with Toronto, it can be difficult to follow. The story’s humour also relies on Toronto-centric jokes, and while most of them, like Koreatown’s endless supply of kimchi, hit their mark, some others fall flat: in one cringe-worthy scene, Vikram, one of the brothers’ allies, kicks a baddie out a streetcar door and then yells, “Paying customers only, bud!” It’s intentionally campy, but it feels contrived, especially compared to Munday’s cleverer jokes. Fortunately, bad lines like it are few and far between, and don’t really detract from the story. According to Munday, the next edition will take a closer look at the Rogers’ organization and their plans for the city. We can’t wait.
All images courtesy of Evan Munday.