Boom! Studios 2016
Written by Justin Jordan
Illustrated by Raul Trevino
Coloured by Juan Useche
Lettered by Jim Campbell
You have to leave the Hollywood ideal on what a DEA Agent does at the door before reading this. The “War on Drugs” was started to garner support and funding and it’s naive to think that it’s actually working. Cartels they are like Hydra’s cut off on head two more take it’s place they aren’t going anywhere so the best you can do is minimize the damage and make a few public arrests to let people know that things are still happening. Then there’s the violence and well that’s all too real so what Justin and Raul bring to this isn’t your fantasy version it’s more real life than you might expect so proceed at your own risk.
We open with fantastic video footage and the introduction of Danielle. She’s been with the DEA El Paso Division for four years now and footage pertains to an agent who went off the reservation as it were. After being pushed too far and knowing the tactics of the company were only going to get more good people killed he decided to take a different route so now the question becomes what happened to Conrad Marlowe and what do they do about him? Both Danielle and her boss have a personal stake in this and for very different reasons so this is more than just a case.
So Danielle goes to Mexico City to do her job. Only this is first time in Mexico and she’s still young and wet behind the ears. That means she doesn’t fully grasp the severity of her situation and what she’s doing. Her presence here complicates matters for everyone from the local constabulary to the Cartels to herself and she’s cocky and naive enough to not realize what she’s gotten into. I love the writing from Justin and the dialogue between characters. That Danielle has her typical American attitude where she understands only her point of view instead of the larger picture is expertly portrayed here.
I like the interiors too as they are expressive and showcase just enough to show the horror, emotions and get across everything we need to feel and experience while not going too far over the edge. Raul has a great eye for how this needs to be told and the use of angles, perspective and backgrounds really do wonders in helping us see the world these people inhabit, one that’s in plain sight and yet hidden from view.
This is the kind of crazy good storytelling where fact and fiction blur, sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction after all. Where embellishments aren’t needed to make a point and people are changed by the truth they think they want to know but will be better off having walked away from. I’m not saying this is closer to fact than fiction but it is an honest and brutal look at a world we know next to nothing about. So are you prepared to see it from a perspective that leaves you uncomfortable and questioning the actions that are or aren’t taken?
Enter the darker world of drug cartels and the men and women affected the war on drugs in ways you’ll never forget.