Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #163 by Drew Barth
In dystopias and utopias, solarpunk is an under-utilized setting. A distinct reaction against some of the grim and gray of disaster fiction, this subgenre focuses on the synthesis of society with greener tech: renewable energy, large swaths of natural land and vegetation, and a communal habitation with nature. Of course, these things don’t come about easily. And in Eve by Victor LaValle, Jo Mi-Gyeong, and Brittany Peer, we see the apocalypse before the spouting of a new world from the roots of the old.
Living in a half-submerged forest with her father, Eve sails, explores, and dives while her father guides her along her way. But when this story really starts, Eve has never been near the water. She has never even seen the sun as her whole life has been suspended in a tube that feeds sensory information to her for over a decade. Meeting her there is Wexler, a robot wearing the teddy bear of her childhood programmed to help her find a vault of seeds that will help clear the atmosphere of a caustic disease and stitch sunken half-sunken continents back together. The world itself is barren, only a few scant groups of children and hoards of the near dead that have been wasting away for decades. Here that Eve finds out that she isn’t the first Eve to make this journey.
Unlike most apocalyptic comics, Eve offers this sense of a way forward and an inkling of hope. The world was broken, but can be fixed. Even if it takes multiple attempts, the worst of the disasters can be reversed and the world can begin again. LaValle, Mi-Geyong, and Peer know that creating another story about the vain attempts of trying to change things doesn’t work anymore. Cynicism and futility are easy. What’s difficult is looking for the best in a world that seems irreparable. But that’s what Eve, her parents, and even Wexley can represent in this story. They can be the good that pushes things into change, even if the teddy bear believes that humanity is beyond redemption due to the state of the world.
Cynicism about the state of the environment is easy. We hear about how little there is an individual can do and resign ourselves to the belief that things can only get worse. But this is the story for after that. Things can get worse. That doesn’t mean they can’t bounce back. That doesn’t mean that through effort and application can we move the environment to a more stable place. It’s why it’s more essential now than ever to not fall into that despair. And that’s what this comic does so well—the despair is always present, but the story knows that things can get better if we’re able to work toward something more grand.
Get excited. Get hopeful.