Young Terrorists #1 Review

When I started reading Young Terrorists #1, I was taken aback by how different a story it was. Black Mask is kind enough to send us advance copies of their books, and without fail, they have been extraordinary. They have also run the gamut of stories and styles. This one is by far the most violent and necessary of a mature readers label of any so far. Before I go much farther, I’ll share the press release from Black Mask and then go into the review.Some preview pages, which we have black bar edited, follow the review.

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.

YOUNG TERRORISTS

Incendiary writer Matt Pizzolo (Godkiller, Occupy Comics) and striking newcomer Amancay Nahuelpan (upcoming Clandestino, Boy-1) unleash this tour-de-force that fearlessly assaults politics-as-usual. Young Terrorists continues the legacy of subversive comics like V For Vendetta, DMZ and The Invisibles, but brings it to the raging streets of contemporary America with a diverse ensemble of angry young anti-heroes.

Young Terrorists will blow minds as it rages against the machine and manically rips the scab off life under the new world order. This is the kind of story that could only be told in comics.

“A dark and brutal tale, told with invention and passion.”
– J.M. DeMatteis (Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt, Justice League)

“Smart dialogue, memorable characters, and in-your-face action. It’s THE INVISIBLES on PCP.”
– Julian Darius, SequArt (Grant Morrison: The Early Years)

young terroristsYOUNG TERRORISTS #1

Artist: Amancay Nahuelpan
Writer: Matt Pizzolo
Colorist: Jean-Paul Csuka
Letterer: Jim Campbell

IN COMIC STORES: 8/19
IN BOOK STORES: 9/1

Solicitation:
What if “The Smoking Man” from X-Files was a real person, and his daughter found out what he did for a living?

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.

Amancay Nahuelpan’s fresh, emotive and edgy art style gives kinetic life to the paradigm-shifting story, a return to Pizzolo’s street philosophy and punk polemic roots that Film Threat characterized as “unapologetically brutal and surprisingly intelligent.”

The 80-page issue 1 perfect-bound prestige-edition launches this new ongoing series, continuing forward with standard 32-page monthly issues.

Review:
Young Terrorists invokes Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, comparing itself to two of the best written stories about a subversive character working under and against the system. Matt Pizzolo manages to make a darker story. The  protagonists live dirty, and are extremely hardened in the face of being outnumbered by the forces that they face. Sera’s development happens very fast, but it gets us where we need to be. Quite frankly, I do not need to see everything she endures in detention as a suspected terrorist. I need her to be where she is when our other main protagonist, Cesar, finds her.

Without spoilers, Cesar’s tale is very hard luck and like Sera, he has to be completely broken before he can be built up. This is a classic element to the hero’s journey that he/she has to face trials along his/her path to destiny. We see it with Sera, and we see it with Cesar. Once this part gets started, the story really begins to excel in telling the hero’s journey in an almost Campbell-like fashion.

Along the way, we get some elements to the story that seem almost necessary for a story of this type. We have the deep web. We have covert government detention.  We have underground cage fighting. We have drones. It’s almost as if everything that would be cool in a story about domestic terrorism against a corrupt society has been put in. I encourage you to sit through all of it, for while there are moments when you may feel like you’ve seen enough of a dismal world, the story redeems itself by focusing less on the world and more on the characters.

I’ve talked so much about the story that it’s almost hard to realize that I haven’t talked about the artwork. With such a powerful script, the art has some pressure on it to succeed. In some places, it misses, relying on artistic tropes like gritted teeth and violence so extreme that it’s almost cartoonish. He never cheats on the backgrounds, and often takes chances. Some of the inking is quite excellent, and the colors always have a mood.

Also at the end, and I hope that this is in the print edition, is a text piece by author Matt Pizzolo. In it he describes an instance when he saw the real power of lobbyists in getting laws written for their own ends. He also tells how when he became involved in distributing a documentary, he got pressure from these lobbyists first hand. It actually puts this story in perspective, and retroactively makes it all better. This is far from the best book Black Mask has put out, but it still is head and shoulders above most of what is out there in this vein, because at heart, it is about the hero’s journey.

Preview:

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