Have you ever watched the movie 2012? This movie came out in 2009 and portrayed the world’s end through natural disasters. How did the human race survive? By building huge boats, we can call them arks if we want a more ominous word, and sailing the sea while everything on land was being destroyed and remade by Mother Nature. When the dust settled, the human race survived and thrived! Or did it?
What was the composition of the survivors? You guessed it! This group of humans was composed of rich (I haven’t seen the movie in a while, but I’m thinking primarily white) people that could afford a ticket, as space was limited. The film follows the tale of Jackson, a limousine driver who isn’t rich but, using the power of the plot, manages to get in and save his family. While watching this, I always thought I would figure out how to get into the ships. But the harsh truth is, I wouldn’t. And 99% of people wouldn’t either. So this movie makes me think, in which way are the rich people going to escape the actual end of the world? And what would happen to the rest of us?
The ongoing discussion of “what the rich would do next?” encompasses many end-of-the-world scenarios but also displays of power (and stupidity). So we, the 99%, tend to imagine what would happen and use these products as cautionary tales. Sadly, there is not much more in this capitalist world we can do. One of the best-known possibilities is the rich escaping us or separating themselves from us in a way. It may be by building walls, getting into a perpetual motion train while the planet freezes over, or escaping the world into outer space.
And the last one is a possibility discussed in Know Your Station by Sarah Gailey, Liana Kangas, Rebecca Nalty, and Cardinal Rae. After actively contributing to the destruction of the planet and the growth of their wealth, the 1% fled the Earth towards outer space. But not everything is a bed of roses, as mysterious murders happen in the spaceship. Someone is targeting the super-rich, and it is up to Elise, an employee of Avulsion Corporation, to solve this case as she gets wrapped up in the investigation in the worst way possible.
First, I loved Elise’s character because she serves as the nexus between us and the rest of the ship. As we know, rich people can’t survive without their workers, so Elise embodies someone who isn’t rich but is forced to work for them to exist. As an average person, she has her problems: she works too much, is an addict that wants to recover but can’t because she needs it to cope with life, and she needs to put a straight face to deal with rich assholes telling her what to do. She is relatable and exciting.
Issue #1 of Know Your Station introduces the world we live in, AKA the starship. It gives a detailed explanation of who runs it and how each important person got here. There isn’t much mention of their world as we quickly get to know Elise, and we are thrown into the murder mystery storyline. Gruesome and impactful images depict the murders, which, along with the parts where Elise consumes substances, are beautifully done and give the book a unique aesthetic. Kudos to Kangas for those.
Before reading this Know Your Station, I thought that the main attraction would be the setting, a futuristic reality where the rich had to escape the planet, but I’ve realized that what matters is what comes next once the rich have left us. This aspect is usually not explored in detail in other tales because who wants to read a book about what the rich would do? But this book solves this by spending time introducing the characters and making them human, not only with the workers but also with the 1%.
It also makes readers, members of the 99%, think about our future, but we don’t get to be happy ever after. Because, as Jackson, the protagonist of 2012, Elise is one of the few members of the 99% that survived. The ones who escape, who live, are wealthy, and I’m excited to see how the creators embody them and how they behave when they are the only ones left. Usually, in these stories, we see the rich interact with other classes, but this book asks what would happen if the rich escaped the rest of us and found out that being on their own wasn’t as easy and great as they thought it would be. I don’t know about you, but I want to know what happens.
In that sense, Know Your Station #1 focuses on setting everything up. The first half has lots of text and a few intense moments, but the book picks up the pace in the second half. New readers will enjoy the thrill of a new world, a fearsome yet human protagonist, and the fantastic art that transports you to the ship and the crime scenes. It is an excellent book to pick up. Overall, this first issue sets a lovely ambiance for what comes next. It is up to the following ones to continue exploring this story and separate itself from other sci-fi and murder mystery tales.