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‘Border Town #2’ (review)

Written by Eric M. Esquivel
Illustrated by Ramon Villalobos
Published by Vertigo Comics

 

I’ve read many comics over the years where the first issue is amazing, and the second issue absolutely sucks.

Border Town is not that book!

Eric Esquivel expands upon his maiden voyage into this supernatural political reflection. The characters are fleshed out more, motivations and agendas begin to take shape.

It all comes together with stellar execution and engaging dialogue that produces a narrative with heart and stakes that won’t squander your investment.

One of the characters we met in the first issue is name Quinteh, who I described as a masked luchador version of Sloth from The Goonies.

Well, I was slightly wrong as this seemingly mindless teenager has an origin story. Quinteh has an inspiring conversation with his mother who uses Lucha Libre as a vehicle to help him conquer his fear.

It’s a scene that exudes a mother’s love and will put a smile on the most stoic of faces. Despite how well written this moment is, Ramon Villalobos’ artwork puts it over the top. I could feel Quinteh’s awkwardness, fear and joy with each panel exhibited.

After Frank and company have their run-in with a monster at Jack in the Box, they all want to forget about it and go their separate ways. Each character’s incentive to forget the unforgettable is personal in different ways that make total sense. Later on, they re-enter the fray, and their reasons for doing so are entirely logical.

Meanwhile, the creatures on the other side of the (supernatural) border want to keep the dimensional rift from expanding any further. Creature designs are well detailed in a gruesome manner while the little rascal, El Chupacabra is cute. However, not in a Disney way, but the innocence he conveys.

The close-minded folks of Devil Fork, Arizona see anyone that doesn’t look like them in the same light. Brown, Black, or a scaly green demon wearing sporting a Kangol hat and Red Sun (Superman) shirt. This commentary speaks to how alienated people in the U.S. feel while illustrating the scary depths of our division.

What else is there to say about this sophomore outing…Oh yeah, there is a twist that comes out of nowhere. The confidence Esquivel and Villalobos have instilled in readers with two issues leaves no doubt we’re in for a hell of a treat.

Rating: A-

 

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