Unlike my CBMFP co-host, I really enjoyed Young Terrorists #1. Now that doesn’t mean that this first issue is perfect, but the overall product was enjoyable. It’s a story that really works as a comic and would probably be mangled if adapted into another medium. Again, as a comic, it’s very comic booky and that’s okay. That’s not a slam in my book. I get this out of the way, the story suffers from pacing problems. Which is strange considering this first issue is like 80 pages or something. That’s the thing though, it feels like three issues in one, but because they’re being read together it feels clunky and awkward. The first third of the comic really grabbed me and kept me interested. The second third, not so much. It was a harsh shift and I really wondered if everything we were seeing and learning about the character was actually important to his journey and to the plot. The answer? Probably not. The issue brings it all back home with the third part which had its cheesy moments, but overall I really enjoyed it and liked the stage that it set up.
Now that you know the break down, here’s a quick rundown of all three sections.
The beginning of the issue has a wonderful sequence of fast moving events in which we see a kidnapped child grow up to be a terrorist and take out a target. We then follow the target’s daughter Sera as she’s basically framed for her father’s death. From there she’s taken to an off grid government site and beaten and tortured to get answers about her brother. She becomes hardened by this and eventually takes to naked blind fighting against other prisoners until she can escape.
With the second chapter we meet a new character that’s on the run from something. We don’t find out until the third act and it’s frankly underwhelming. Caser as he’s known to us, is hitchhiking. He makes some bad decisions and eventually gets picked up by one of Sera’s people. Why he’s important… no idea. He just seems like some dude who upholds some morals and not others.
The third act brings these two characters together as we see what’s become of Sera since prison. She’s running her own society off the grid. She’s also a cage fighter whose fights are streamed on the internet. The passwords to the fight are guarded and if someone gets one it usually draws a crowd. We follow this crowd for a while as we slowly introduce Caser to Sera’s world.
Like I said there’s somethings that don’t help the story and others that do. Caser at this point felt like a big “huh?” rather than a character contributing to the plot. The only thing that he accomplishes is forcing Sera to explain her world to us. That’s it and I imagine we didn’t need to spend so much time with him in order to get her to do that. Otherwise, I enjoyed the characters and look forward to more. Although I would avoid the underground news segments because they were too long and info dumpy and not in a good way.
The art is solid. I enjoyed Amancay Nahuelpan’s artwork. It was dynamic and used the gutters to progress the story at the right time. It was like cutting on a transition at times which saved a lot of excess panels. Really this story would sink if it didn’t have Nahuelpan’s artwork attached to it. There’s just something about the thick line work and fierce action that works for the story.
A lot of the art’s success goes to colorist Jean-Paul Csuka. Csuka’s coloring reminds me a lot of another Black Mask title Liberator. The color makes the world come across as dark and gritty. There’s a lot of yellow and purple hues used and it really gives the book a unique look. Csuka also helps sell the explosions that happen throughout the story as well.
I applaud the creative team for wanting this issue to move and develop at its own pace. That’s why the issue is so big and that’s why it’s very comic booky. Does it work? Not fully, but at least there’s a publisher willing to take a chance on trying something new. Maybe they’re work the kinks out and this will become a successful formula for other creators.
Now, I know that I pointed out a lot of negatives to this book, but that’s only because I want to see it grow and improve. Overall, I really enjoyed it. It’s very entertaining and even though it’s very lengthy, you’ll want to keep reading more. That’s the sign of a good issue in my opinion.