Border Town #3 – Eric M. Esquivel, Writer; Ramon Villalobos, Artist; Tamra Bonvillain, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: The debut book from the relaunched Vertigo line continues to be one of the most pleasant surprises out of DC in a while, telling a story that deftly combines race issues and modern politics with cryptozoology and mythology. As Border Town #3 begins, the Curandera – healer – that the teens met the last issue gives them a crash course in the source of the magic ravaging their Arizona town. Turns out it has its roots in Aztec mythology, with the Aztecs making sacrifices to appease the Gods of Death they worshipped. When the colonialists showed up and massacred the Natives, they set into motion a chain reaction that’s playing out now with ancient forces being unleashed.
With the monsters attacking the healer’s shop in search of the mini-chupacabra the teens have adopted, they’re able to weaponize the police to show up and kill the monsters, allowing them to escape. The book isn’t subtle with its political commentary – some of the visuals are a little over the top – but the book works as a blunt instrument.
This is definitely the most extreme issue of the series yet, as some of the visuals are particularly grotesque. That’s especially the case with Blake, the racist punk who was infected by supernatural forces the last issue. His wound is spreading, and by the end of the issue, he’s ripped off his skin to turn into a demonic skeleton monster.
Meanwhile, teenager Aimi, who has been the quietest character so far, finally gets to step into the spotlight as she stages an unexpected protest at her school. That brings her into contact with a perverted vice principal, which leads to a shocking and disturbing twist.
This book isn’t for the faint of heart at points, but it’s one of the best supernatural comics I’ve read in a while and a great social satire. Unlike many of Vertigo’s past books, it doesn’t feel impenetrable. It’s engaging, and I’ll predict that within a few years it’s going to be a popular TV show or movie.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.