Boom Studios 2015
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Illustrated by Matthew Dow Smith
Coloured by Doug Garbark
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Alright well I like that we jump right into things. Phillip introduces us to two brothers who couldn’t be any more different and that’s kind of exciting. As does the whole premise of this book. So we know a couple of things such the North American Auto-infertility Syndrome or as it’s known South of the Border “Mother’s Plague.” What we don’t know is how that happened, who did it or why and that being left out is fantastic. It just means that we’re left hanging like bait on a hook wanting to learn about it.
So now that North America is now pretty fertile the market for children has reached an all time high. There will be those that use unscrupulous methods so that American’s can have children of their own. So what type of people go to other countries to negotiate for the sale of children from parents that may have too many and live in poverty? I guess as this four issue limited series goes on we’ll find out.
I love Boom because they are willing to do stories like this one. Forget the spandex set and let’s go to something a lot more edgy and controversial in nature. This isn’t something you can skim over you really have to read it and pay attention. Early on you see one brother speak in English while the other translates it into Spanish and that alone is something you don’t see. It’s innovative because gone is that *translated from box so we automatically know what’s being said. It gives this a much darker, more realistic aspect to it that isn’t expected but completely welcomed.
When the sale of a ten year old girl falls through, her parents just can’t part with one of their children even though they have seven total and aren’t living in the best conditions, things change for the brothers. There’s the expected violence from a gang that knows what they are in the region for. There’s the introduction of another girl who claims to have no parents but is well versed in Star Wars. She’s an interesting character and we see that right off the bat. Her characterization is superbly done and rivals that of the brother’s so you know she’s important to this story.
However this isn’t a sanctioned thing the boys are doing and there will be consequences to their actions and we see just how different they are and the lengths one will go to so he can be rich without really working. Also I really like the one who speaks Spanish and for a myriad of reasons which primarily stem from his stature and how he sees the world and the traits he possesses.
The interior artwork here is pretty freakin sweet as well. There are times you see the area they are in and see how third world it can be considered. The attention to detail, the darkness of the pages showcase the desperation and futility of living there. Plus it adds more than a certain feel to the book that you can’t escape from.
We’re being introduced to a complete world rife for exploration and it seems we’re starting with the darkest it has to offer. It’s compelling and leaves you with more questions than answers but that’s how a good story should be told.