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Roy and Inaki Miranda always intended their post-apocalyptic epic We Live to be a superhero story. They just didn't tell anyone...at first.
The Eisner-nominated series arrived in 2020 -- full of vibrant design and hope at the end of the world -- as the story of a brother and sister trying to make it to a destination that might mean one of them could survive the impending demise of the planet. Then, five issues later, it revealed that what looked like an exodus was instead a metamorphosis. The powers that were meant to take humanity off-world instead transformed several of the planet's children into powerful superheroes, delivering a cliffhanger ending that set up a whole new iteration of the comic's universe.
For readers, it was a thrilling new phase of the saga. For the Miranda Brothers, it meant betting big on themselves that they'd actually get the chance to make good on the promise of their ending.
"We assumed the risk of the cliffhanger of Volume One, and at the same time we knew that it meant having to push ourselves to be extremely demanding because we had one shot to make it," Roy Miranda told SYFY WIRE. "Five issues. No more. And I think that we were so looking forward to be able to create this upcoming universe that we made it out of necessity. We might have projected this illusion indirectly into the readers, who turned into our allies to make it happen.
"The same thing is happening to us for this second arc. We have a new goal ahead; and the illusion (and the demand on ourselves) has multiplied."
This March, AfterShock Comics will launch We Live: Age of the Palladions, catapulting readers headlong into the second phase of the saga, with the Miranda Brothers delivering a new take on a familiar world, complete with new designs, new threats, new characters, and a massive time jump.
Six years have passed since siblings Tala and Hototo reached Megalopolis 9, only to find that the device meant to give Hototo a ticket to survival instead twisted him into an armored superbeing, along with several other kids who were part of the planned exodus from Earth. It's now 2090, and the new heroes, known as Palladions, are celebrities who helped usher in a new time of prosperity in the city. But there are new challenges to face. The city's shield is weakening, as is the beacon that powers the Palladions themselves. Outside the city, nature has evolved in terrifying new ways, and new creatures threaten the Megalopolis' survival every day. With time running out, it's up to the Palladions to hold the line.
Just as the first volume of We Live was about developing a fully imagined world and then dropping readers right into the middle of a critical moment, Age of the Palladions is about giving readers a fully formed vision of the ways in which that world has evolved, including the ways Tala and Hototo have changed since the transformation. For the Miranda Brothers, that meant developing a very real sense of how that six year time jump transpired, and pouring it into the way the present day of the story unfolds for the reader.
"I feel one of the strengths of We Live is the striking use of the ellipsis," Inaki Miranda explained. "We work point A and then work point C… and we trust the reader’s mind to comprehend and absorb the complexity of B (the center of most of our conversations).
"The greatest part of a person’s internal evolution is done in silence, with thoughts and monologues that evolve, bounce, bring joy, sadness, etc. And then we bring out the result of those internal battles during conversations or actions. This conversations and actions create new thoughts that we once again incorporate and elaborate new results with. What I mean to say, is that we hopefully will learn how Tala and Hototo have grown from seeing how they interact and react and what they say and do in this arc."
With the time jump, and the evolution of the world of We Live, the comic's look also grew and changed, giving Inaki Miranda the chance to design not just a superhero team, but new creatures for them to fight. In the pages below, you'll get just a peek at how We Live has developed in the year since the first volume of the book ended, including glimpses of the Palladions in action, and more.
"Every new Season (yes, there are plenty planned!) of We Live will bring a new configuration of the world that will require new designs and characters," Inaki said. "For this second Volume, Roy and I had conversations that spanned for months before I finally sat down to design.
"During that time, we came up with many scenes and settings that we weren’t quite sure how they needed to be at first. It’s difficult to explain, but logic, story, and designs influence each other back and forth. Because we are building a world and everything influences everything. Every decision needs to be taken into account on how they will affect every other piece."
But of course, the new volume isn't just about the Palladions themselves. In addition to Tala's ongoing story as a member of the team's support group, and several other new and preexisting characters, the book will explore a pair of Generals in charge of directing the Palladions in defense of Megalopolis 9. It's through the perspectives of these generals, and their views on how to keep humanity fighting, that the Miranda Brothers decided to split Age of the Palladions into two parallel stories. When the new volume kicks off in a few weeks, readers will be able to buy We Live: Age of the Palladions - Black #1 and We Live: Age of the Palladions - White #1, both complementing and intertwining to form a wider view of the world and the story.
"Generals Terrassa and Nesbo are the catalyzers of these two lines of action that are presented in Black and White," Roy said. "They both have two opposite positions. Each one defends a different strategy on how to deal with the crisis that they are having to face."
Inaki added, "Each version completes the other, and at the same time it leaves us with two different feelings and they might force the readers to ask themselves which side are they with. Who is making the right decision?"
While a great deal has changed in the saga of We Live, and a great deal more will change if the Miranda Brothers have the chance to complete the multi-part story as they've planned it, what hasn't changed is the Brothers' devotion to a certain kind of apocalyptic narrative. For them, We Live remains a story of hope at the end of the world, a story not just of survival, but of love.
"In the first volume we focused on distilling the power of innocence and imagination, the emotion of hope sprung from the act of trying to keep those flames alive in the middle of a storm; trying to protect all that those two elements encapsulate, something so fragile and at the same time so powerful," Inaki said. "And how the real guardian of that power must be love and dedication."
Roy added, "For this second volume, we focus on the power of heroism, that heroism that is so pure that [it] must be strong even in the depths of fear and upon [the] gates of defeat."
We Live: Age of the Palladions launches March 9 from AfterShock Comics.