Sometimes, running away seems like the only option… Your Major Spoilers review of Youth #1 from Comixology Originals awaits!
Writer: Curt Pires
Artist: Alex Diotto
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Micah Meyers
Editor: Dorkfish Walinski
Publisher: Comixology Originals
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 12, 2020
Previously in Youth: Two queer teenagers run away from their lives in a bigoted small town and attempt to make their way to California. Along the way their car breaks down and they join up with a group of fellow misfits on the road. Embarking together in a van travelling the country they party and attempt to find themselves.
And then something happens…
EVERYBODY’S GOT A PLAN TILL THEY GET PUNCHED IN THE MOUTH
We start with Frank (who has a dead-end job at a burger place and whose manager won’t even let him finish his break) and River (whose deadbeat step-father seems to hate his guts, especially the fact that he smokes in the house.) Their parallel stories escalate into conflicts with a customer and/or stepdad, ending with violence and sending them both out to contemplate life. River and Frank are also a couple, and decide that their dead-end lives aren’t going to get any better if they just stay put, so they steal the stepfather’s classic Mustang and hit the road. The first leg of their journey is a short one, ended by a nail in their tire, but they quickly fall in with a crew in a van on their way to a party. It’s the kind of instant friend-making that you can only do in your teens & early twenties, with everyone ending up at a party in a nearby home. Frank gets high and ends up kissing a girl, but the police arrive to interrupt everything. Violence and a car chase ensues, with the crew getting away clean from the law…
…but their van is not fast enough to outrun the meteor strike.
DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING
This book’s first caption is “Once Upon A Time In The United States Of America” which, in retrospect, sets a perfect tone for what comes after. It’s a book that reminds me a lot of the works of Quentin Tarentino, the 90s attitude of Grant Morrison (especially “Kill Your Boyfriend”) and my beloved “Heathers”, but has its own tone and modern aesthetic. The story moves at a lightning pace, but still manages to set a perfectly nihilistic tone before the last page swerve changes all my expectations of what is about to happen. I am completely in love with the art in these pages, especially Diotto’s rendering of Frank and River’s first page together. Their heart-to-heart discussion is engaging emotionally, thanks to strong facial expressions, but it’s also a beautiful page overall, as they sit on a cliffside watching a gorgeous sunset. (The coloring is also top-notch throughout the issue.)
BOTTOM LINE: A BOOK THAT GETS YOUR ATTENTION
It’s probably not going to a book for everyone (if you’re a Kids Today complainer, I’d be wary), and the fast pace may not be to everyone’s liking, but I enjoyed the heck out of this book. Youth #1 is beautifully-drawn and colored and creates an authentically antisocial teen tone, with a shocking plot point that actually shocks and an ending that makes me want the next issue right now, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. If you’re looking for a big middle finger at the world that’s entertaining and engaging, this is the book for you.
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