AWA Upshot Studios 2020
Written by Jason Starr
Illustrated by Will Conrad
Coloured by Ivan Nunes
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
A young Mexican couple narrowly escapes the Juarez Cartel by fleeing across the border into Texas, only to be run down in the desert by the Cartel's most brutal thugs. Rescued by a mysterious local who takes them to the safety of his family's ranch, the couple soon realise they are trapped in a house of horrors beyond their wildest imagination, and the army of assassins on their trail might be the least of their problems.
This book just takes such a weird turn and I love every moment of it! Crossing the border these days is much harder than it’s ever been but not impossible and in the last issue we saw an incident occur and we are sure why that happened at all. Still that was just the beginning of this absolutely crazy ride. Don’t take a wrong turn, and beware of southern hospitality or Texas hospitality because if something seems too good to be true, then it definitely is!
I am in love with the way that this is being told. The story & plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfold and how the reader learns information is exceptionally well laid out. I mean this has turned into a very different kind of story than I had originally thought it would be and that’s due to how the story is revealed to the reader. The character development is utterly marvellous and the more we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances or just plain behave in the first place tells us so much. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the page revealing the plot twists and turns we see how all of the works together to create the books ebb & flow.
I love that this book mashes up several genres and makes them all feel like they belong in such a seamless way. I love the transitions, the tension and the way the different arcs are all playing out simultaneously. While the bigger picture is still elusive, which I am totally fine with to be honest, the way that we see the race against time begin and the reveal of at least one important character means that we’re going to see one hell of a Texas showdown and will it be the new Battle at the Alamo?
The interiors here are breathtakingly gorgeous. I love the linework and how we see the varying weights and even techniques being utilised to bring out the attention to detail. Talking about detail we have to talk about the colour work as well. I mean seeing the different hues and tones being utilised to create musculature or in the hair I mean it’s perfectly rendered to create detail where there is no linework. How we see the backgrounds being utilised do more than just enhance the moments they bring us this wonderful depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the book. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show such a show stopping eye for storytelling. I mentioned some of the colour work earlier but the way we see the wood, with it’s tones and grooves and the way all of these subtle moments we see are due to the myriad of colours and the hues and tones within them.
This is what comics should be. Stories that take you places you’ve never been before. Show the plight of people and how deranged and depraved those who prey upon another human can be. Getting across the border usually means some form of human trafficking or indentured servitude. So that we see this story and we see the forethought in some of the thinking from the characters well it just takes us to this place we never thought much about and it makes us want to be there.