Writer- Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art- Matthew Dow Smith
Colors- Doug Garbark
Letters- Jim Campbell
Editor- Eric Harburn
“And in the actions of all men, and especially the princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result.” – Machiavelli’s The Prince
Do the ends justify the means? Is evil cloaked in morality truly evil? Can you step back from over the line once it has been crossed? These are the questions that are asked in Boom Studios new first issue of the four part mini-series, Last Sons of America.
More specifically it deals with adoption, the value of family versus prosperity, and the corruption that follows desperation and poverty. The story finds us following brothers, Jackie and Julian, (A nod to Tarantino? I’d like to think so) in the middle of a sales pitch/negotiation. We have Jackie pitching and Julian translating into Spanish for the parents of seven children. The negotiation is for their youngest daughter, Tati.
Let’s back up a little…
The United States has had a devastating epidemic brought on by “The Pink Attacks”. The epidemic, called, Mother’s Plague, which is an auto-infertility syndrome has rendered the majority of American women unable to produce offspring. Essentially, this has stopped repopulation and now America is in a slow and steady population decline.
This has spawned a premium on the adaption market. Now out of country adoptions are at an all-time high. This has led to a surge in kidnappings and a vulture like mentality for adoption agencies in poverty stricken areas of Central and South America.
Jackie and Julian, buyers for an adoption agency, have gone to a small Nicaraguan town where the town’s factory and main source of employment has been shut down. The only caveat to the brothers’ goal of buying children is that they must pay a portion to, what seems to be the cartel boss of the area, Don Carlos.
Back to the negotiation…
The brothers have made the deal, the papers are signed, and the daughter is handed over. Jackie and Julian are driving away, but are run down by the parents and a group of town folks after the parents have a change of heart.
After a violent dispute, Jackie and Julian are left with nothing but bruises and a desperate need to secure some human merchandise. Jackie wants to resort to more devious ways of going about it, but Julian will have no part of it.
Jackie’s next move not only puts Jackie’s life in danger, but also his unsuspecting brother, when he takes the wrong kid- and by doing so, signs his death warrant.
Ladies and gentlemen we have a winner, here!
This issue was outstanding. Writer, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, knocks this out of the park. The dialogue is so natural you forget you are reading a comic book, and become totally immersed in Jackie and Julian’s world. It doesn’t go through your head that this is good dialogue, because there is never a sense you are reading something someone wrote.
The premise is interesting without being over the top, and it flows really well. The pacing is in that sweet spot of moving the story along, and getting you the information you need, without feeling like you are being force-fed exposition.
Matthew Dow Smith, on art, is in perfect harmony with Johnson’s approach to the story. It’s gritty without being depressing and weighty without being preachy. And the detail and expressiveness of some of the panels are gallery worthy.
One of the things that really put the cherry on top of this issue is the colors by Doug Garbark. The fantastic colors breathe life into the story. The coloring in this is just as important to creating this world as the dialogue and pencils. The shadows and feeling of the looming day coming to an end is masterful.
Overall, this was an amazing first issue. Every aspect of Last Sons of America was hitting on all cylinders. The nuanced story and character development mixed with the flavorful eye candy to tickle your senses makes this an easy issue to recommend. Do yourself a favor and get on this mini-series from the jump.
Jonathan Winchester is a writer from Dallas, TX where he lives with his wife Maddie and their annoying cat. He believes Han was the lone shooter, that nothing looks better than a silver age comic in Mylar, and that there is no better feeling than walking into a dimly lit movie theater. Twitter- @TexasWingnut