Fiction inches ever closer to reality with a book that is bound to ruffle some feathers in CALEXIT #1 from Black Mask Studios. Author Matteo Pizzolo pulls no punches in this story set two years into President Trump’s second term in office. The bitter divisiveness between left and right in this country reaches a cross roads causing California and a group of sister cities to secede from the union and form their own militias while the National Guard has been tasked with putting down the rebellion and reintegrating these isolates pockets of resistance back into the United States. At the heart of this story are two major characters who could not be more different. The rebel leader Zora Donato who is passionate for her cause and will do anything to stand up to what she views as a fascist state and Jamil, a young courier and opportunist making the best life for himself that he can by playing both sides of the conflict. When their paths cross things are bound to get interesting.
Wading into politics is always risky especially now with how divided this country has become but Matteo Pizzolo pushes his narrative just far enough that only those looking to be offended will find fault in his story. A prime examples is the antagonist Father Rossie. He is brutal and cruel to the extreme, a villain that everyone who reads this book will instantly hate and that is why it works. He is not painted as someone with a different view on a subject but rather as a monster. Jamil is the fresh face with a smile just trying to exist in a world that has gone upside down. He claims to have no stake in the conflict but that will be put to the test when he enters the employ of rebel leader Zora Donato. Having Jamil, the man in the middle, be the driving force of the story is a brilliant decision and allows this title to push boundaries while not feeling preachy.
The pencils by Amancay Nahuelpan are fantastic and special note must be made of the exquisite facial emoting. This over sized issue packs a bunch of story and character development and really does a fantastic job of setting the table for what will no doubt be a controversial comic book. But that is a good thing, people need to have their boundaries pushed every now and then and I honestly think that readers from all sides of the political spectrum will find this to be a captivating story with strong characters and beautiful art. This will be a title people will be talking about all year so make sure you get down to World’s Coolest Comics and pick your copy up before all the number one issues are going for a mint on eBay!