It's been in my experience that DC Vertigo is the label that drops the thinkers. Well Border Town is definitely no different. Not to be confused with the Netflix original by the same name. Border Town is about a young Irish, Mexican, American moving to a new home, new school, and starting a new life. However, all is not as it seems in Devil's Fork Arizona as the borders that separate our world and "what lies beyond", The Aztec Underworld, remains open. Meanwhile our protagonist, Frank, finds himself in hot water early on in his journey.
"MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN..."
Border Town #1 goes straight for the throat of the "All American, Americans". The first page is a shout out to white supremacists patrolling the Mexico-Arizona border with guns screaming "Make America great again Mother-F*cker!" while talking about killing Mexicans trying to cross the border. . And that's as powerful a start to a story you can get. However, this story isn't about them. It's about Frank. And like I mentioned earlier, he's the new kid in Devil’s Fork, Arizona, and things escalate rather quickly for him. The first thing we notice about Frank is that something has happened or is happening to him as he has a strange reaction to a radio broadcast he hears while on his drive to Devil's Fork. And this is where you really get invested in the story. Eric Esquivel thrusts you right into the madness. Hell, even moments before some gruesome sh*t went down, that had me asking immediate questions. And the entire story is full of panels that make you go both "aha" and "wtf" simultaneously.
"DEFINITELY A HINT OF POLITICS..."
That being said, while searching for images for this book I came across a tweet from Esquivel who states the comic isn't political charged...and I'm inclined to disagree. There is definitely a hint of politics here and there is nothing wrong with that. Comic books are upsetting people more and more. Racist people. Ignorant bigots that don't like the truth or want to see equality in their comics. Why? Because through the art and the written words that lay on the pages these kind of people can see just what kind of monsters they are.
And they are monsters. . .no literally. Ramon Villalobos has done something interesting here that creates questions and makes you think. Charlottesville White Nationalist marchers and I.C.E officers are seen as monsters by those who see them or maybe they are actually monsters. Conversely an "urban teenagaer" in a hoodie and a mexican are also seen as monsters. Again, I don't know if Esquivel is trying to say "these are the images we project" or if they are in fact actually monsters. It's hard to say. The whole thing with the Chupacabra confuses it even more, but I digress. The point is Villalobos does a great job of capturing the tone of this issue. And though the art isn't perfect, it's gritty and does the issue justice. Also, his rendition of Bane and Batman is freaking great. Even if that's not actually the case. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
The entire thing culminates on the scooby-doo meets supernatural stuff that definitely gets me pumped for the next issue. Why? Well, you'll just have to pick this issue up and see for yourself. However, if you're a Trump supporter, even though you're the one that should probably read this issue the most.
Jonathan Quamina is founder/writer/editor for Geek Unhinged. Follow him on Twitter