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‘Americatown #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Writers Bradford Winters (Oz, The Americans) and Larry Cohen (Borgia), two television vets, throw us into the mix of some illegal border crossing, only we’re seeing Americans cross into Buenos Aires, where there is a portion of the city known as Americatown. We’re not sure what yet has led to this migration and why they aren’t doing it legally, but the social commentary at play is easy to spot. What if white America became the illegal immigrants?

Winters and Cohen thankfully don’t hammer us over the head with their themes; instead, they introduce us early on to a father-and-son relationship that gives direction to the first chapter in our story. This is about a family divided. The son is a noble figure, doing as much good as he can. The father is just happy to see him.

Something goes awry, and the father and son are forced to flee the safe house leading to further complications.

I wasn’t sure about Daniel Irizarri’s (Prophet) art at first, but by the end I found there to be something expressive and haunting about it his imagery. It’s Matt Battaglia’s (Dead Letters) coloring that - in following that expressive and, at times, haunting approach - starts to feel a little disconnected. In one instance, he shifts from a nighttime blue to a splotchy red when emotions get high, then back to blue then back to splotchy red, then blue from panel to panel . . . I get it, but it’s difficult sometimes to find a consistent tone throughout the book because of this. It does begin to make you feel a bit lost in everything that’s happening, especially when he leaves subtle shades of an opposing color to create a light haze. (Nice touch!) In a way we should feel as lost as the characters are, but it also feels, at times, like Michael Bay is jumping around from one film stock to the next just because, or like we’re watching a trendy, new television show that just can’t calm down for a second – in brief, it feels excessive, but not without craftsmanship, which means it’s simply a creative preference on my end.

The only other thing I can say is Winters and Cohen need some kind of a hook to finish their issue with. I can sincerely say that I’m interested in reading more just to see what they’re up to, but the final splash page of the comic is empty, and that is not what you want to leave a reader with, especially since I was becoming pretty invested in the father-son story. The cliffhanger happens a couple of pages before the last page in this instance.

All in all, a solid enough start to a new series.

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