Growing Up in the New World Order portrays a grim world where the powerful maintain their wealth and status by using the media to create a society rampant with violence and consumerism. A young artist named Chance decides to infiltrate the media and send alternative messages. He manages to set up his plan before he is imprisoned, but the question remains whether or not his plan will save the world. Growing up in the New World Order might have been an intriguing story were it not for the fact that the story has little substance beyond its initial concept.
The world of Growing up in the New World Order is portrayed in broad symbols and concepts that convey a message rather than contribute to the narrative. The art style—which favors flat colors and simple line art—effectively portrays a dark world in which the media sows fear and discord. However, the character designs and setting are generic and only serve to fill the role the character is assigned. With the exception of Chance, the characters are cast as either a sheep or villain and have no significant role in the plot. While the meaning is clear, the images and the story do not satisfactorily create a meaningful setting, which fails to ground the narrative and makes it difficult to determine when or where this is happening.
As the only character with a real active role, Chance’s actions should drive the story, but sadly fail. Even though he is working undercover in an evil media corporation, Chance is able to resist all temptation and avoid almost all obstacles with ease. His ability is also never fully explained, and the reader gets no sense of how he actually sees through the manipulation and uses his ability to fight it. His eventual imprisonment seems more driven by the message than the story, and, as a result, adds little meaning to an already weak narrative.
The story also makes some claims that further paint the media and those in power as villains, but many of the claims would not stand up to serious critical thought or would be difficult to prove. For example, there is one point where the story implies that Operation Paperclip (a program that brought former Nazi scientists to the United States) provided those in power with the techniques of Nazi mind control. There is a lot of discussion about the impact of Nazis and their propaganda, but the claim in this story does not address other factors, such as broader social contexts and prejudices, that might provide insight into Nazi success. These claims, when paired with the lack of well-rounded characters and a simplistic setting, result is a story intent on hammering home a message rather than a clear, nuanced narrative.
Growing Up in the World Order’s call to evaluate the impact of media in our society is important, but the lack of nuance, poor plot, and weak characterization results in a story that only those who hold similar beliefs would find plausible. The story does not include overly graphic or questionable content, but the issues described make it difficult to recommend it for any library collection.
Growing Up in the New World Order
by Tom Hoover
Art by Michael Lee
Saga Flight Entertainment, 2016