REVIEW: Young Terrorists #1

Artist: Amancay Nahuelpan
Writer: Matt Pizzolo
Colorist: Jean-Paul Csuka
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Black Mask Studios

You know that saying about “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade”? Well what if life gives you lemons, no jug or glass and makes you allergic to the rest of the ingredients? Oh, and somebody steals your lemons?

This is the kind of setup for the main characters of the giant sized first issue of Young Terrorists from Black Mask Studios.  From the get go, you are not in some quaint superheroes vanquish evil type of story.  You are in a world where bad things happen and continue to happen until, an equal an opposite bad thing is acted against it.  This is the bit where the terrorist, I believe comes from, with the ability to challenge the state or a peer led group consciousness.  There is a lot going on in the first issue.  We are introduced to Sera arguably the leader of the group, along with Cesar who seems like he is going to be major player.  Each have their own story to tell, full of the horror of violent and sexual abuse.  This book is not for the faint hearted.

Written by Matt Pizzolo, the book contains a real world language, which helps to color the suffering of the characters.  Through the use of exploitation (who is exploiting who I will leave to your own personal point of view), we get to see how the lives of quiet desperation can play out, differing from those who choose or are chosen to take action.  This gives the book a feeling of reality.  Following Sera and Cesar, I found myself rooting for them in their most challenging times.  This goes as a credit to Pizzolo’s writing as it connects the reader to the characters, even to the point of having the same sort of knee jerk reaction to a certain scarred character.

Amancay Nahuelpan is on art duties and his work is vividly disturbing and excellent. Within the story, the violent aspects are not watered down in any way.  This, I think, allows for the realism of the situations to seep through. It’s not just the action scenes that work.  The panel structure changes to help either drive the story forward or allow for moments of reflection for the reader.  The scene in the convenience store, the recognition of people grasping for the straws of their happiness after watching the books version of the UFC all show a high level of emotion, whether that be love, boredom or quiet nonchalance which is equal in power to the violence of the action scenes Furthering the strength of the art are the colors by Jean-Paul Csuka who is comfortable using a myriad of colors, at the school for example and then switching to variants of one color, such as the cage fight scenes, with each style emphasising the destruction in the characters respective worlds.

Looking through  the book, I couldn’t help consider, that if Pizzolo is attempting to challenge people, is the book just not catering to them, through the use of the violence, sex and lesbians? Re-reading the book I have come to the conclusion that in order to challenge the reader, Pizzolo has used the ingredients he has to hand, making a helluva strong glass of lemonade.

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