The Belfry WebComics Index

Stolen Generation

CID:4116 Subscriptions:138Readers this Week:9
Frequency:Completed
Url:http://stolengen.smackjeeves.com/
Genres:Action-Adventure, Drama, Furry, Science Fiction
Description*:Although everything marks this comic as a mature comic, it is not just sex and violence and such. This is a comic with a powerful storyline, and is as realistic as furry comics come.
THIS planet Earth is a world inhabited by only furries, with all of the same countries. Set in a extremely technological (as far as weapons, military in general, and science go) post-cold war era. 200 years earlier the placentals, the name that covers almost every single fur on the planet, wiped out the marsupials and thylacines of Australia. Almost. However, now 100% cut off from the rest of the world and thought to be extinct, they are planning their revenge and have become the most advanced of any on the planet, leaping past them by about 70 years in technology...
* Descriptions are user submitted and might not express the views of the admins of this site, or of the comics creators themselves.
Flags:A Adult Situations
L Adult Language
N Nudity
V Graphic Violence
X Explicit (NC-17)
People who read this, also tend to read these:
(68%) i *Restored Generation ALNV (37%) i *Starfire Agency, The NV (37%) i *Shayla the Pink Mouse ALNVX (36%) i *Fur Will Fly AL (36%) i *Cesilee's Diary ANV (35%) i *Beyond the Veil AN (35%) i *Wrongside: Beginning ALNV (35%) i *Shifters ALNV (35%) i *Campus Safari A (34%) i *Good Cheese
Higher percentages are more closely related.
Entry Added:Thu, Dec 16, 2004
Entry Modified:Mon, Jul 4, 2016

Reviews: 2   Average Rating:
 

04:42am 01/12/2016
 
If Aussies ruled the world...
Stolen Generation begins on a novel premise: inspired by the forced removal of Australian and Torres Strait Aborigine children from their families, the comic imagines an alternate history where marsupial mammals have been hunted virtually to extinction by the so-called "placentals", the survivors living in secret communities for centuries afterward, never forgetting and never forgiving. At an unspecified date in the near future, a cabal of combat-trained revolutionaries piloting giant mechanized suits launches a revenge campaign that plunges the world into a devastating war. The resulting story is a mix of racial antipathy, personal dramas, and to a much lesser extent, national political ambitions.

I first read this comic several years ago and was ready to give it a full five stars, but when the original host went down, my initial review stalled. Re-reading it now with a fresh mind and more critical eye, does it still hold up to those early impressions? Yes and no; overall the project remains as socially relevant as I recall, but the little errors have become much more noticeable, even before what both then and now is the story's postwar crash and burn. Fair warning: this review is likely to contain blatant spoilers.

While the archive at SmackJeeves is dated 2007–8, Stolen Generation began several years before, and represents some of the artist's earliest published work. A handful of pages were later coloured, but the vast majority is done in simple ink sketching, which I personally prefer: the asceticism complements the plot's ever-present sense of tension, highlights detail without becoming distracting, and ironically-if-unwittingly underscores the story's central theme that the world doesn't live in black-and-white. While quality of both the illustrations and the page scans themselves vary widely, especially at the start, facial expressions are sharp and emotive, and even in mass fleet battles the action is drawn crisp and clear. My biggest complaint is that the text, all handwritten, is often hard to read.

There are four principal characters to Stolen Generation: Rumour, a teen-aged thylacine and eager revolutionary; Novus, a misanthropic war veteran suborned into the Marsupial revolution after rescuing her; Duncan, the insurgents' de facto leader and anti-Placental zealot; and Dr. Burret, a sadistic scientist secretly orchestrating the war as part of a dubious social engineering experiment. Accompanying them are numerous supporting characters that present a kaleidoscopic variety of moral perspectives, motivations, and racial attitudes, ranging from genocidal fanatics to, ironically, a pacifist pilot. Unfortunately, aside from Rumour's older brother Keith the secondary cast receives scant development, and even the leads occasionally slip into Flanderized caricature.

One of the comic's main plot lines is the will-they-won't-they romance between Rumour and Novus that explores both the prevailing racial tensions and the question of 'What is love?' generally. Especially noteworthy for a furry comic, genetic (in)compatibility is a major plot point, and they often find themselves questioning whether this precludes a future together. At the same time the writing veers in and out of melodrama worthy of Coronation Street and Novus in particular sometimes proves more the angsty teen than Rumour, it is a refreshing counterpoint to the love-at-first-sight trope, and the doubts are believable enough that one -isn't- sure whether they'll ultimately get together.

A related plot line, so subtle it might be unintentional, is the notion of restoring faith to someone stripped of hope. Rumour supplies this to Novus early on, but it's also mirrored by Duncan's mistress Rena, the insurmountable counterpoint to his anti-Placental bigotry that keeps him from devolving into an incurable génocidaire. As a microcosm of the war, these pairs are especially sharp hooks for reader pathos: so long as hope remains, global coexistence is in reach; what bleak future should then befall the world if the couplings fail?

Needless to say, heady themes underlie Stolen Generation. Racial discourse is nothing new in furry comics, but here it receives a nuance and maturity surpassing several more popular titles—in the broader sense, at least. Clumsy dialogue undermines an otherwise superior narrative with redundant, wordy exposition and suspense-killing mental asides, and as previously mentioned the romantic arcs struggle with obtuse melodrama. (There are also several setting and technical inconsistencies mostly pertaining to scenes involving the world powers, but these are largely incidental to the story itself.) I find this particularly regrettable because while the comic raises more debate-worthy subjects than I can properly explore here, it only scratches the surface of most of them before the war gets underway and it shifts into an action film.

Thankfully, despite its mature rating, Stolen Generation is neither gratuitous in its violence nor exploitative in its sexuality. Indeed, while lasers and explosions abound, actual bodily violence is fairly rare and used for effect: a flashback scene features a torture sequence that, despite being less explicit than a casual fight much later on, conveys such a brutal mood that even now my eyes avert the page. Likewise, the comic offers a fair share of titillation, yet the sex scenes themselves are quite restrained, if not glossed over; possibly a commentary on love meaning more than lust, possibly simply to keep the audience's focus on the emotional relationship.

The story divides into five official chapters, although I consider what follows Duncan's climactic confrontation with Dr. Burret an act in itself, and hands-down my least favourite section. As a whole it is well-paced, never becoming frantic nor slowing to a plod, though there are a few moments where dialogue infers several days or weeks have been fast-forwarded that could have been used for 'breather' moments to expound on any of the topics alluded above. The comic does a good job of introducing the characters in a logical and progressive way so that the reader isn't swamped by names and factions, establishing their histories and personalities while outlining the social context in which the impending war takes place. Despite the mechas' early appearances the war plot doesn't begin in earnest until late in Chapter 2, after which the story basically becomes one continuous but well-choreographed battle, interspersed with several personal side-stories and one arc that grows into a major plot point. Unfortunately this is where the narrative sags under clichéd writing—arguments over Placental 'sin' read like articles in a debate rather than personal conviction; genre-savvy readers will suspect Natasha's re-emergence, making the emotional see-saw between Rumour and Novus all the more infuriating—but the fifth chapter rallies strong for a gripping, and ultimately rewarding reckoning between Duncan and Burret to settle the historical score.

And then it completely drops the ball.

As much as I wish it did, the story -doesn't- end at Echelon University. It doesn't even begin dénouement. Toward the war's end the protagonists learn that the Marsupial advantage has nothing to do with Burret's hypothesis, but is a wildcard variable in the form of progenitor technology, and the story now trips over itself to smooth this Deus ex Machina into a believable sequel hook. All the criticisms I've raised are amplified exponentially, and unnervingly quickly, in what feels like a rush to tie it all together: just as we think the romance is finally settled, Rumour is struck by seventh thoughts and abruptly declares they're Just Friends; complex, longstanding social issues are answered with dangerously simplistic solutions; characters we thought we understood dumb down into self-parodies; whatever dialogue isn't emotionally dead is laughably over-exaggerated. In writing my original review I debated whether to count the end sequence in the comic's final score, because it's done so ham-handedly one could be forgiven for thinking it belongs to a different author.

Credit where it's due: making the Marsupial victory Pyrrhic and enforcing the New World Order through military might in an ironic role-reversal is both realistic, and a damning testament to the destructive cycle of so-called retributive justice. Similarly, I'm not saying the romantic leads -need- to get together in the end, and as previously stated, Rumour and Novus' future remained genuinely uncertain for most of the story. My problem is the execution goes out of its way to turn everything on its head, thereby shattering immersion. Kylee's fate, though poetic, is totally arbitrary, and one of the most pointlessly cruel character kill-offs I've ever seen. Arcane technology may not have been the -cleverest- way to scuttle Burret's abominable experiment, but with better planning it could have worked without coming across as such an arbitrary twist; instead it ends up hijacking the plot's coat-tails to set the stage for a sadly underwhelming sequel. A story acclaimed for its drama, wit, and tightly-woven narrative ends hysterical, derivative, and without meaningful closure.

In the end I still give Stolen Generation four stars, but it is a generous four, commemorating its ambition more so than its overall cohesion. Commendable for its aversion to clear-cut happy endings and willingness to confront history's long shadows in realistic terms, it remains an engrossing and entertaining story with a wry, understated sense of humour, despite occasionally clichéd writing and a contrived central plot device. While the comic's abysmal end sequence makes a mockery of the project, it may yield useful background information to the sequel, Restored Generation; otherwise, read to Page 350 and then imagine your own resolution.
07:49pm 04/12/2010
 
A jewel.
In the midst of oversexed, under done, and overrated furry comics that try to include action, story, sex, and liasons in a "good" comic, Stolen Generation rises to the challenge and steals it.

Set in a futuristic and fuzzy Earth, a thought to have been destroyed race rises above to single handedly take over the Earth.

Now, you're thinking one army versus the world. Wrong. Try less than ten, highly advanced mechas versus the world.

A far cry of Gundam, his comic has a steady and conistent art evolution and great story that keeps one enthralled. It starts in color, but then drifts to black and white. But it does little to nothing to detract from the great comic this is.
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