Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Calexit' #1 by Matt Pizzolo, Amancay Nahuelpan, and Tyler Boss

In what would seem like a "ripped-from-the-headlines" premise, 'Calexit' from Matteo Pizzolo (GODKILLER) and Amancay Nahuelpan imagines just that and the results surprisingly compelling, smart and tense. Heavy on action and world building but not on the politics themselves. This is an urgent and timely story that comes across as a dystopian thriller that serves as an ugly mirror to our current society.



CALEXIT #1 
   
Writer: Matt Pizzolo
Artist: Amancay Nahuelpan
Colorist: Tyler Boss
Flatter: Dee Cunniffe 
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Release Date: July 12, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

Score: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Through Matt Pizzolo's editorial at the end of this super-sized issue, we learn 'Calexit' was planned long before a real campaign for California to secede was started after the presidential election. It's through happenstance that the comic is as relevant as it is considering the giant f-you the state gave to the presidential candidate that won, losing California by 4.3 million votes. This disparity breeds a resistance movement, the majority emboldened by the state's standing in the world as the sixth largest economy, with industries that feed the nation, create the latest technology and entertain billions. The president calls in the National Guard to maintain the peace and enforce the law. It's a powder keg of violent tension up and down the state. It would seem a story like this could be dragged down by its political overtones and seemingly fascist motivations but it doesn't. In fact, Pizzolo smartly picks an unlikely character to guide us through this post-secession landscape. 

Jamil calls himself a courier, some say he's a smuggler, willing to transport just about anything for a price and he traverses the streets of Hollywood and its Hills introducing us to the new world order as armed Homeland agents patrol the city. He provides some laughs which help lighten the mood of what could have been a heavier politically-charged story. This is a near-future dystopia where the most wanted freedom fighter, Zora, is being hunted down by Homeland forces and its psychotic leader, a Steve Jobs doppleganger. And Jamil is about to come in contact will all of them. 

'Calexit' works on multiple levels but can be described as a low-down dirty, street-level, version of Greg Rucka's great dystopian thriller series, 'Lazarus,' over at Image Comics. Where that series concentrates its attention with those in power and their amazing Lazari, 'Calexit' follows the resistance from the ground creating a combustible atmosphere of politics, drugs, violence, corruption, and fascism. And does it all while being entirely entertaining. It's not heavy-handed but totally riveting. 

Amancay Nahuelpan provides a dizzying array of perspectives, angles, and layouts that are detailed and imaginative. Nahuelpan's strengths are the subtle and not-so-subtle expressions, glances, looks of menace and body language. In such a tense environment with highly charged moments, the art needs to be precise and convincing, Nahuelpan with Tyler Boss' subtle colors deliver a tour de force of visceral action.

'Calexit' is smart, funny, and electric. The politics only lay the groundwork for a fully realized dystopia that seems closer than we think. The graphic violence and shady characters make this more an action movie than a political thriller but there are layers upon layers within the story. It never ceases to surprise with wit and sly social commentary. Oh, and it's entertaining as hell too. 'Calexit' is a book that captures our times and holds up a funhouse mirror of horrors to it. This is timely and a must-read. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

DC Comics March Movie Poster Variant Covers are Fantastic

DC Comics may have outdone themselves with their running themed variant covers for the month of March 2015. After some fun and gorgeous variants in 2014 like Darwin Cooke (December), LEGO (November), and Bombshells (June) to name a few DC Comics is continuing to bring some creative covers in 2015. January will feature Flash throughout the company line in celebration of his 75th Anniversary, February will bring everyone’s favorite wild card, Harley Quinn, on DC covers, and perhaps the best mash-ups of comics and famous movie posters will arrive in March.

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

PREVIEW: 'Red Sonja Vol. 4' #20 by Amy Chu, Erik Burnham, Carlos Gomez, and Vincenzo Federici

As the castle prepares for the Feast of the Deities, Sonja and her friends reluctantly take on the job of event security for the owner, the shifty Rusa Sandak, while Sonja attempts to solve the mystery of the missing Lord Skath... at the local tavern.


Red Sonja Vol. 4 #20
writers: Amy Chu, Erik Burnham  |  artist: Carlos Gomez, Vincenzo Federici covers: Babs Tarr (A), Tula Lotay (B), John Royle (C),               J. Bone (D), Cosplay Cover (E)               Babs Tarr (RI-B/W), Tula Lotay (RI-Virgin),               John Royle (RI-B/W)
FC  |  32 pages  |  $3.99  |   Teen+ 










PREVIEW: 'Barbarella' #7 by Mike Carey and Kenan Yarar

Barbarella is lost in a maze of Radically Unstable Space-Time, with Pulver Glain, his boys, and his smarter-than-smart gun Sally-Anne hot on her trail. But what’s at the heart of the maze is a threat - and a miracle - that none of them are ready for.


Barbarella #7

writer: Mike Carey  |  artist: Kenan Yarar
covers: Butcher Billy (A), Hayden Sherman (B),
              Daniel HDR (C), Giovanni Timpano (D),
              Kenan Yarar (E-Sub)
              Butcher Billy (RI-B/W), Daniel HDR (RI-B/W)
              Giovanni Timpano (RI-Virgin)

In Stores 06/20/2018

FC  |  32 pages  |  $3.99  |  Mature








REVIEW: 'Border Town' #1 by Eric M Esquivel, Ramon Villalobos, and Tamra Bonvillain

Frank Dominguez is new to the border town of Devil's Fork, Arizona. As if fitting in wasn't hard enough, he'll have to navigate around neo-nazis, potential bullies, and some mythological monsters emerging from a tear between worlds. Eric M. Esquivel, Ramon Villalobos, and Tamra Bonvillain usher in a new era in Vertigo Comics with this provocative and entertaining debut.


BORDER TOWN #1 
Writer: Eric M Esquivel Artist: Ramon Villalobos, Tamra Bonvillain Letterer: Deron Bennett Editors: Andy Khouri, Maggie Howell Publisher: Vertigo Release Date: September 5, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score:  ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
When it was announced that Vertigo Comics was being relaunched, fans were expectedly excited. It was, after all, the imprint that brought adult storytelling in horror, fantasy, crime, and action to a hungry audience looking for more edgy and sophisticated material. It also helped to elevate creators like Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Brian K. Vaughan, Jill Thompson, Nancy A. C…