(Image Comics, 2015)
Writer: Alex de Campi
Art: Carla Speed McNeil
Color: Jenn Manley Lee
Hello, everyone, it’s good to see you again. This week I’m excited to bring you the No Mercy review. Now No Mercy’s storyline is not original, The Lord of the Flies and Flight 29 Down come to mind; but the presentation and characters are completely original, and truly kept me on the edge of my seat.
The story starts off like many stories before it, a group of teenagers all hanging around – talking, listening to headphones, or on their phones. We quickly learn that these teens were all the top of their classes and are all about to start attending Princeton. They are on a school trip with soon to be classmates, to help build schools in a Latin American country. Now the story premise is made clear very quickly, and that is that Americans are over privileged and think they are better than everyone else. And who better to show this than American teenagers? We see this as a girl comments about how the pesos look like cartoon money; and another girl runs up to the nun escort, shoves her phone in the nun’s face, takes a picture, and then posts the picture on Twitter saying how adorable the nun is. To them, this trip is just another form of entertainment – most of them only doing the volunteer work to look better on their resumes. And as we quickly find out, this trip is going to be anything but that.
One of the things that I absolutely loved about this story was the glimpse of things to come. On about the fourth page of the comic, we see the picture the group took upon arrival on the school’s Facebook stream. Now the picture and title look normal, but it is the comments that let you know what is about to come, and turn these privileged teenagers’ lives around. One comment reads, “OMG. How sad. They were all so young.” And another says, “Prayers to their families.” Now we don’t know what happens at this point as we go back to the teens and see more of their thinking they are better than anyone else attitude. As they head out to board their bus, they all head towards the nice, brand new looking bus, assuming that’s for them. And once they find out theirs is an old rundown looking school bus, they are not happy. Even the adult chaperones mention that they will have to set up the travel accommodations next time rather than letting their host do it. Now while this scene was short, I find it an important one because it shows the reason these kids are acting the way they are – they were taught to be like that.
I already told you that their world is about to turn upside down, and that is how this comic ends – the event that changes their lives forever. Now I won’t take the fun out of being on the edge of your seat by telling you what happens (though I did hint at it above), but I will say that Campi, McNeil, and Lee do a fantastic job with this ending scene. And to bring home just how above everything these teens think they are, the ending line is, “No way are we gonna hafta stay here all night. I mean, like. We’re Americans. We don’t hafta stay here.”
Gives you something to think about. Doesn’t it?
Ali is a creative writer with an emphasis on Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Comic Books. She first fell in love with superheroes when they were used to teach her to read. When not practicing at her dojo or out seeing the latest superhero movie with her friends, Ali can be found curled up on the couch with her dog and a good book.