Black Mask Studios 2015
Created, Written, Illustrated & Lettered by Amancay Nahuelpan
Wow it’s been awhile since i’ve seen one person do the entire book. What i’m hoping is that the whole story was completed before this issue was released. This way we can see the entire story come out in a timely manner and enjoy each and every moment of it. I’ve got to give mad props too because this first issue is pretty amazing. I really enjoyed the story, the premise is solid and the execution is pretty flawless.
We start off in what appears to be a pretty Southwestern looking area where we see some rather interesting folks. We also our main man arrive at a gas station those same people were putting the squeeze on for the General. It’s definitely an action packed opening showcasing the kind of man we’re dealing with. He’s pretty bad asds and taking on these punks, also there’s one shot of him falling and firing that’s extremely impressive with that V in his side showing above his jeans and the happy trail, forest, right there. It’s a great look at anatomy.
The page layouts and panel usage is dynamic, eye catching and draws you in and leaves you feeling you are in for something special. Not to mention anytime you can do a pin-up page with this kind of unique styling you’ve won my vote for whatever’s to come.
After the opening we go back in time to 1973 where it all began. Tairona, the country, had been through major upheaval politically and economically and that’s when the General steps in with his Coup D’Etat and ceases control. The President kills himself rather than be caught and all this in this black and white style was really effective and powerful. As the houses nearby are searched for those against the General a boy manages to escape with nothing on but a pair of shorts. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this boy, Niko, rescued by soldiers fighting the General is the one who grows up to be Clandestino.
As we see time pass through the use of newspaper pages to fill gap between years make things progress extremely well. That and with television newsfeeds that kind of end ambiguously it tells the story of a dictatorship. It also clues the reader into the kind of upbringing Niko had with this rebel army. This takes us up to present day, before the opening. We see Niko survive an attack which thwarts their own attempt at striking at a military base. It seems pure random luck that they were caught.
This is a pretty pivotal moment in this introduction as well. It gives Niko another purpose will to do what has to be done.
I have to say this is wonderfully powerful and gripping first issue from Amancay. I like this whole premise of the region being usurped by a Dictator and the resistance rising up against him, sometimes to no avail. It feels both fictional and very current considering what could happen in some South American or Middle Eastern countries today. It’s definitely one man’s journey right now and how everything has impacted his life and drives him forward. With strong writing, characterization and incredibly detailed and emotional interior artwork this is a book to be reading.