Reviewed: Issue 1 Writer: Matt Pizzolo Artist: Amancay Nahuelpan Publisher: Black Mask Format: Ongoing
The much-hyped new series from young upstart publisher Black Mask lives up to its edgy reputation. Young Terrorists sets out its stall as a provocative comic right from the outset. The cover shows a dreadlocked girl with dynamite strapped to her body, about to light the fuse with a Zippo. In the opening pages, a baby is kidnapped at gunpoint. Fifteen years later, a billionaire, Gregor Solomon, is blown up in a coffee bar with a briefcase bomb. His daughter Sera is arrested on terrorism charges and sent to a black-ops military prison in the desert where she is tortured and forced to fight other detainees in brutal death matches, until she escapes.
Then we meet a young animal rights activist on the run, who comes to be known as Cesar. He’s beaten up by truckers, arrested by the police, and rescued by an enigmatic man in a hoodie.
Cesar’s and Sera’s storylines intersect in Detroit as she recruits him to her cause: no less than the overthrow of the “transnational mega-elites”, corrupt architects of the New World Order, amongst whose number her father was counted. Well, you can’t blame her.
This 80-page debut issue, described by the back-cover blurb as a “graphic novella”, reads very much as though it is three normal-sized issues packaged as one, and it forms an excellent introduction to what looks like becoming an ace new ongoing series.
There are shades of DMZ in Matt Pizzolo’s script, particularly Sera’s sovereignstate-within-a-city that provides a self-sufficient refuge for people who want to get off the grid and smash the system, while Amancay Nahuelpan’s roughedged artwork oozes anarchism, adrenaline and paranoia like blood from a knife wound.
It’s a sci-fi political thriller with attitude.