Written by Matt Pizzolo
Art by Amancay Nahuelpan
Black Mask Comics have been getting a lot of attention in the last year, as they've seen a number of their new series become very desirable, and enjoy sustained attention on the after-market. I feel like I've been sleeping on their stuff for too long, having missed a few titles that I would have been interested in, had I been paying more attention to their solicitations in Previews.
I don't know how Young Terrorists slipped past me, as it looked very much like the type of book I'd be interested in reading. I guess a lot of people felt the same way, because the store where I shop was sold out of a decent number of orders in a couple of hours. Luckily, I was travelling this week, and found a copy.
I think the thing I like most about the amount of attention that Black Mask is getting is the way in which it pushed this series (which is, I think, an on-going) and this issue (which will be released in second print soon) into the hands of a lot of people who would otherwise not buy something with this kind of material. I do hope that most of these people decide to read it though, and not just keep it as an investment, as this is a very good comic.
This first issue is 80 pages long, which is always welcome, and it takes it time to introduce the main characters. We meet Serah, the daughter of an extremely wealthy businessman, who controls one of three groups that more or less control the world, or at least its finances. He is killed in a suicide bombing at the beginning of the book, and his daughter is framed as a terrorist. She ends up escaping the CIA black site where she's been interrogated, and has been the star of an illegal fight scene.
She continues that work, broadcasting her fights on the Internet, and gathering an interesting group of misfits around her. The comic is split between Serah's story and that of Cesar, a young man who is on the run after an act of resistance against industrial farming goes wrong. Cesar is brutally abused throughout this book, beaten and left naked in a truckstop parking lot, before he is found by Baby, one of Serah's people.
As much as writer Matt Pizzolo takes this issue to set up his world, he also leaves a lot to be explained later. We know that there is some intrigue surrounding Serah's brother, and we see that she has effectively taken over a section of Detroit that had been abandoned, and is now providing the residents with food and electricity.
Artist Amancay Nahuelpan is new to me, and I'm impressed by what I see. He has a way with the characters that sometimes reminds me of Tony Harris, and which works well with a book that is so tied into the motives of the people that populate it.
This book is rough and unapologetic, and very open about its political and economic beliefs. I see antecedents in Jonathan Hickman's phenomenal The Nightly News, and wonder if this is perhaps the book that Gail Simone set out to write when she started The Movement at DC. It makes sense that Black Mask is publishing this book, since they launched their business with Occupy Comics.