Border Town #2
Mythology to Reality: Through raw teenage perspectives, Border Town #1 has set a powerful stage of a story with Chicano identity, bi-racial, multi-cultural diversity and a popular Latin monstrous folklore that has crossed over the supernatural border to Devil’s Fork, AZ.
Eric M. Esquivel with artist, Ramon Villalobos honorably touch on some heavy issues of modern-day Americans. There are many realism factors throughout Border Town #1 that expose the reader to immigration, different levels of racism, and bullying. The border in this story is not the fence (or) wall to separate Mexico and U.S.A. It refers to a “portal” between the humans and the World of Darkness. Esquivel and Villalobos provide a horrific twist with enough mystery that intrigues the reader to want more.
A new kid in town, Irish-Mexican-American Francisco Dominguez, who calls himself Frank, along with fellow teenagers face racial tensions as they confront unknown creatures. These creatures have crossed the supernatural border to Arizona and add chaos to the locals, who are already defined by division. Fear heats ignorance that floods the country with hate. Whatever the locals fear, that’s what they see as one of the monster’s approach. Last issue began to explore things that people fear the most with a horrific and thrilling genre.
Many mythologies are derived through sacred cultural tales or fables, which usually deal with the human condition, good and evil, human origins, life and death, the afterlife, and the gods. Myths express the beliefs and values about these subjects held by a certain culture. Border Town #1 explores the Latin mythical creature called the Chupacabra! What challenges lie ahead for these teenagers and the townspeople as they decipher between the heroes and the villains?
Border Town #2 provides some background on Quinteh, a special character and maybe one of the superheroes of this story. We see signs of why the young Quinteh does not want to leave for school. His mother provides a little inspiration through a story about their Kiowa ancestors. In American history, the Kiowa Native Americans fought for many years as they were forced from Black Hills, South Dakota by other tribes, such as the Sioux to the south-southwest areas that we now call Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. This issue emphasizes these ancestors’ as fierce warriors, but they also got too scared. They push their fears aside and open themselves to the brave spirit to get the job done. Young Quinteh’s mother mobilizes this story to help her son push his fear aside.
Wearing the mask of El Diablo Verde, a Mexican professional wrestler, gave Quinteh the will and strength to go to school. Now as a teenager, Quinteh continues to use the mask during challenging social interactions with others. Was this a good tactic for Quinteh’s mother to use on her son just to get out the door? Well, I think that only a child psychologist has the qualifications to provide that answer. That said, however, some parents would say “no” as others may agree with the “placebo” effect, as Quinteh’s mother described. Some comic book orientated parents may refer this as “The Batman Effect”. Children who pretend that they are Batman (or Dora the Explorer or other heroic figures) may do better on building key functioning skills; such as flexible thinking, working memory, and impulse control.
People are “taught” to “discriminate”, but children can look through the eyes of “The Batman” as a placebo effect for self-control, persistence, and confidence. Blake called Quinteh the “Incredibly Retarded HULK” in the last issue, but this is not what makes him a “special” character. It’s the fact that Quinteh wears a t-shirt with a symbol that means “HOPE” (in the Superman Kryptonian shild) and uses his mask to overcome his fear and treat others without prejudice. I am growing to love and respect this character!
Back to the present, Quinteh is with his pals deciphering the recent events of the “alien’ attack. Frank expresses concerns that this may be bigger than they can handle– even bigger than ignorance that divides each other. Julietta argues that people won’t believe in these monsters as they would be more focused on her immigration status and see her as the “illegal alien” than the actual creatures. Aimi feels that if one rats out another they are outing themselves as well.
Unfortunately, secrets never stay quiet and Quinteh realizes a connection to the creatures. Frank, Julietta, Quinteh, and Aimi find themselves defending one creature from his brothers. I like the panels that showed the Green Lantern poster in Frank’s room as nothing else has been unpacked yet. This tells me that Frank looks up to others, fictional or otherwise, that has the “will” to face any challenge.
Ramon Villalobos’s artwork and Tamra Bonvillain’s colors enhance Eric Esquivel’s storyline with its great facial details. The fight scenes pack more power to the points with blood splatter and raw emotions. This issue has improved with deep blues along with shades of grays and blacks in the background. I would like to see better art on the Chupacabras, however, I love the artwork as the book introduces some other mythical creatures from the underworld Capital of Aztec, called the Mictlan.
I am enjoying this storyline as Border Town #2 continues the perspective from raw teenage emotions and how they deal with real issues. The artwork communicates well as the darkness of the underworld Aztec mythology crosses the border. Pick up your copy today!
Border Town #2: El Diablo Verde & the Batman Effect
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 7/107/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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