Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review - Young Terrorists #1 (@blackmaskstudio)

"I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death."

It's a fact that there are issues with the world at large. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and there's no in-between. There are few options for amending your situation if you're on the lower end, but you do have the potential to cause some chaos. It's that sort of chaos that drives the story of Young Terrorists #1 from Black Mask Studios forward. The issue is written by Matt Pizzolo, illustrated by Amancay Naheulpan, colored by Jean-Paul Csuka and lettered by Jim Campbell.

School lockers full of submachine guns. Exploding burger shops. Shootouts with cops. Underground fights clubs and sci-fi porn funding radical militias of furious youth hellbent on seizing their freedom back from… whom? On Main Street everything looks fine, but, just below the surface, America is at war with itself. The daughter of an assassinated globalist kingpin breaks out of an internment camp and leads her fellow escaped prisoners in a battle against an elitist conspiracy of shadow governments, megabanks and military juntas in this edgy and subversive political thriller.

There's a lot of anger in Young Terrorists #1 which is used in a way that casts a dark pall on living in modern society. Pizzolo infuses the book with enough sex and violence to make Quentin Tarantino nod in approval, but he does so in a way that underscores the disparities in society. There are some people who are content to go about their lives, paying little attention to what's really going on in the world around them, while at the same time there are others actively seeking out change. Pizzolo focuses on the latter in the form of what is essentially an anarchist, crafting a script that features charged dialogue and unapologetic players. Over the course of the giant, 80-page first issue, the reader gets to meet a slew of gritty characters, all of whom aren't content with the status quo.

A story predicated on anger wouldn't work without solid art and Naheulpan delivers in that regard. The main character Sera is presented as transitioning from a spoiled, private school teenager into a wild, combat-ready firecracker, courtesy of Naheulpan emphasizing her appearance as a reflection of the transformation. The same can be said for all the main characters as well, with Naheulpan offering them all somewhat intense transformations from their look in a previous life. In fact, every character looks grizzled, as if they're struggling to contend with the crumbling society and environment surrounding them. Csuka's colors are appropriately dark throughout, lending plenty of shadowy looks to the characters and their appearances.

Young Terrorists #1 reads like a punch to the throat you never saw coming. It shares certain views with Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, in that the main characters represent a cabal of individuals who want to shape their world in their perspective of what's right and just. Pizzolo's story features ups and downs that fit with the action on the pages, providing a pace that moves accordingly with the characters it's focusing on. Naheulpan's artwork is disorienting, offering glimpses into a world where a select few aren't content with the world they live in. Young Terrorists #1 is a fantastic first issue that isn't shy about where it's at or where it's going, delving into the aftermath of a world shattered by obscenely large banks and a seemingly constant surveillance state.

Young Terrorists #1 is in stores August 19.


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