Writer: Bradford Winters & Larry Cohen
Art: Daniel Irizarri
Release Date: 9th Sept 2015
Americatown is a really interesting idea. The premise is that the Western Economy has collapsed leaving the USA a shattered country of poverty and hardship. Consequently, the third world economies of our time are now the economic powerhouses, and illegal migrants are flooding to these areas for work. In this time, however, the illegal migrants are US citizens trying to get into Buenos Aires and a city district called Americatown.
I have to confess that I love the idea of this, and there were a few delightfully surprising themes introduced in issue one that continues to issue two, in fact these themes are so strong in terms of the world that has been created it makes the story seem a bit weak.
Sounds bad, right? It’s not though, let me try and explain. Winters and Cohen have created an incredible world and cast of characters, and have played with our Social norms to do it. The lead smuggler is an American Indian, the people historically marginalised by the American settlers is now the one person the Americans need to get into Americatown. In the 90s it was a bit of an Urban Legend that in South America there were gangs of Organ Harvesters that would drug you and steal your organs. In Americatown’s world if you can’t make your transportation fee, the smugglers would take your organs and sell them on the black market to cover what you can’t pay.
It’s the clever little themes like this that gave me most enjoyment when reading Americatown, the play’s on our own reality. The story, so far, has been sufficient but not extraordinary. It’s doing a good enough job of building up a narrative, but it’s apparent that there has (in my opinion) been some harsh editing. There are a couple of transitions within the story that don’t really make a lot of sense. They break the flow and the resulting appreciation of what is going on. Especially the reveal at the end, as a driving element for the continuation of the story it’s a great plot element, but it makes no sense. I went back to issue one to recheck and there is no lead in to why Derek has a tracker on him, it just appears, and this is why I get the distinct feeling that a lot of content was chopped prior to publication.
The art is big and bold – thick ink lines make for very solid characters and large black shading makes the panels seem very full, and very much present. Much like the busting metropolis that Buenos Aires is in this story. The colouring is solid and this is especially apparent when distinguishing between the characters casts. This is a story about immigration after all, so it’s interesting to note the varying skin shades from the incredibly suntanned Mayor, to the pasty white face of the main protagonist. Oh, and I can’t leave without mentioning the cover art by Mike Choi, it’s sensational
Americatown is good, but I feel it should be great.
The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.