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Art As Message & Product In Nostalgia #3

Writer: Scott Hoffman

Artist: Danijel Žeželj

Colorist: Lee Loughridge

Letterer: Steve Wands

Designer: Rian Hughes

Editors: Greg Lockard & Will Dennis 

If you’re just joining on our trip through Nostalgia, you can read the review for issue 2.

Alert: Potential spoilers for Nostalgia #2 in this review. 

Nostalgia #3 picks up shortly after the events of the second issue – a time jump similar to between issues 1 and 2. Hoffman uses it as a successful technique to jump into the plot of the story without sharing every detail of how we got here after the bigger, more consequential event preceding it. I like its use, but I don’t think Craig Mancini, aka Nostalgia, does nearly as much as it quickly drops him back at the Synod lair and into confusion about what happened to his son, Nathan, aka Nautilus, who is suffering from a gunshot wound from the police force of this world.  

These events have Craig shaken and immediately questioning the members of Synod, Nathan’s friends… errr… compatriots, what exactly happened and to Nathan and to himself, “what exactly is happening?”

True to form in this technopoly world, the members of Synod are all concerned with being identified in all sorts of technological ways by the feds that “imaged” Nathan and his girlfriend, Claire, after they dropped “trackers” at the free speech and expression protest they were at. 

Also true to form in this autocratic world, Craig has the means the Synod can only dream of, a private doctor, Dr. M, a longtime friend of Nostalgia’s, who can keep emergency care for Nathan off the record and off the radar. 

What happens next are my favorite sets of sequences of the issue. Many more comparisons and contrasts, dualities and symbioses through Craig’s current and nostalgic events.

Art as a message and art as a product. 

Idealism of youth and pragmatism of age. 

Taking risks and selling out.

In particular, Žeželj delivers some beautiful panels and pages of floating and falling characters, and consciousness, similarly to the initial two issues. The dialogue and thoughts Hoffman provides wonderfully balances these sequences in almost a dreamlike way in which they speak to unconscious minds and the work our subconscious does to make sense of those experiences. 

(So much at play in this story between what someone feels and what someone projects that’s exacerbated by the idea of the Orb and the Opys, the emotion and experience sharing technology that Craig and Lexi built.) 

In particular, Craig’s memories of one of the first times he was in the care of Dr. M resonates. Anyone who has experienced addiction to narcotics, depression or other illnesses will certainly relate to Craig’s showdown with his subconscious. As a survivor and thriver from depression and acute anxiety myself, I instantly recognized this type of battleground and the strength Craig shows in coming to terms with whatever had affected. Craig definitely is toying with his values and morality, even if he isn’t intentional on following it. 

(Hmmm…) 

More of Craig’s friends and contacts appear – those he knew when they were idealists versus who and where they are now – and it makes for some exciting, if not questionable (especially in-story) moral quandaries too. (Let’s just say this world’s Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg and Theil are represented, even if none of them has offered to cage match the other.) Craig is hopeful his life and contacts can dissuade Nathan from his life in Synod and as Nautilus before it’s too late, but the destructive consequences of this trust costs big time – not just cash, but in Craig’s inner circle. 

This issue really ramps up the action, accountability of the characters and intrigue of the plot in where Nostalgia, Nautilus, Synod and other characters are going. Some really good momentum, given what has been established in prior issues. 

It’s getting good and I’m ready for the good and bad choices characters are going to make. 

As always this issue left me with some questions and hot takes, so here goes… (Drop your comments below after you read the issue or join the Gay League group on Facebook to discuss.)

What’s Nathan’s end goal? How does he think he’s different from his father – considering they still don’t know too much about one another? 

Back to the Orb and the Opys… I’m wondering if Nostalgia somehow changed the world, emotionally, in unanticipated ways, somehow helping create this dystopia?

What’s going on with my girl Elena, Nostalgia’s personal drone? Is she here to watch out for Craig or watch out for what Nostalgia could do to this world?

Hmmm…  

Nostalgia #3 is available digitally on Tue, June 27. The next two issues are released one per week for the next two weeks as part of this five-week Comixology event.

Scott Lyon (he/him/his) has been an out and proud superhero and comics fan from the very first time he saw Lynda Carter spin into Wonder Woman in the 1970s. A mild mannered media consumer by day and a pop culture crimefighter by night, Scott has a particular interest in the intersections of LGBTQIA2S+, BIPOC and women’s identities in storytelling and the pop culture and speculative fiction media we create and consume. You can find him at @wonderscott on Instagram.  

June 26, 2023
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