YOUNG TERRORISTS #1
Written by Matt Pizzolo
Art by Amancay Nahuelpan and Jean-Paul Csuka
Published by Black Mask Studios
Release Date: August 19, 2015
Ho. Lee. Crap. Young Terrorists #1 is a monster. A raging, 80-page, emotion-filled, action-packed monster. Consequently, it’s also a book about monsters. Not of the sci-fi or horror variety per se, but the monsters that are inherently there when taking a critical look at the world around us. Matt Pizzolo and Amancay Nahuelpan bring readers an incredible journey from cover to cover and have spun up an amazingly detailed character list right off the bat. This book is going to sell out if it hasn’t already, so you may want to consider taking a short break from this review to call your LCS. Luckily, a second printing has already been announced with an incredible cover from Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain, so at least there’s that.
So what exactly is Young Terrorists #1? Well, depending on how you look at it, it’s a story about large-scale revenge, a tragedy of family, a coming of age tale, or just one brutal all-out fight between humanity and those struggling to save its constituents. We follow Sera, the daughter of a wealthy man who taught her more than just how to do well in school, as she becomes a hardened warrior on the path to rectify the injustice in American society. We also follow Cesar, an on-the-run boy who gets swooped up by the young terrorists, and who has some serious thinking to do about his future. By the end of the issue, we see these two long story-lines coming together in a dramatic fashion — one that involves drone transport, subliminal body art, and a lot of sex between clones. Yeah, you should probably just read the book.
Matt Pizzolo, writer of Godkiller from Black Mask, is no stranger to subversive tales of character-driven action. His writing in Young Terrorists #1 is his best work to date. Everything, everything about this book flows — his character development, his overarching plot, his dialogue, his action sequencing. Sometimes, this book flows a little too well as it moves from scene to scene, past to present…it certainly lends itself to several readings. Pizzolo has created some incredibly dynamic characters in this first issue. Though this book is much, much longer than a traditional first issue, he still manages to pack in a metric crapton of character development, but still leaves room for so much to come. The info-matic “Infocides” he adds in provides the more global context necessary to understand how the pieces fit together, and he keeps the plot moving in an incredibly entertaining way.
There’s no questioning that Pizzolo has crafted a masterpiece of a first issue here, but he’d probably be knocked back several levels if not for the awe-inspiring art from Amancay Nahuelpan and Jean-Paul Csuka. Nahuelpan is something of a breakout artist this month. This is his second title released in two weeks, and let’s not forget that this book is 80 pages long. Nahuelpan delivers a consistent 80 pages here, and the growth of the characters is clearly depicted through his artwork. He also gives us some of the most absolutely brutal fight scenes I’ve ever seen, and he’s not afraid to make these characters look tough. It’s fully believable that Sera is the badass she’s made out to be — rippling muscles and a hardened exterior hit all the right notes for this leading lady.
In terms of technical details, I love Nahuelpan’s style. He uses really crisp and bold lines to make the characters pop on pages, and wide range of line weights within each figure to portray depth really well. The colors from Csuka really make these pages pop, and I was really pleased with the color palette throughout. If you flip or scroll through the pages, you can see a brilliant arrangement of color that progresses the book alongside the plot perfectly. Despite the constant action and fast-moving events, you don’t get particularly lost with the art.
While this book can be confusing at times, as a whole, it’s a fantastic debut issue. People willing to take a chance on an off-beat story will dive into this headfirst, climb out of its beautiful pool of characters and art, and dive back in again to experience it once or twice more. Young Terrorists is thrilling from start to finish. It’s breathtaking, epic, and masterfully crafted by one of the most exciting creative teams out there. Find a way to read this book, and then spend the next month figuring out what to do while you wait for the next issue.
The Verdict: 10/10