The latest series from ComiXology Originals stables sees Curt Pires and Alex Diotto bringing us a really interesting talk on the teenage superhero coming of age story.
Publisher: ComiXology Originals
Writer: Curt Pires
Artist: Alex Diotto, Dee Cuniffe, Micah Myers
Price: £2.39 per issue from ComiXology
Frank and River are your average teens, after a particularly bad day of being racially abused at work and yelled at by a step father, they decide to go on the run to California. On the way they encounter a group of fellow misfits in a van and after a party gets broken up by the police they have an unfortunate encounter with a meteorite that looks set to change their world for the unique.
Youth starts off as a kind of classic angsty teen drama. The juxtaposing between the hard working Frank and the layabout River start the story off well, and does a good job of introducing the characters before bringing them together and off on their adventure. At this point the story feels more like a US indie road movie by a director like Richard Linklater and the story feels packed with classic coming of age tropes. From borrowing a car like Ferris Bueller to the classic house party, to the fact the characters all have names which feel like they have come from a 90s character name generator. It’s all very familiar but there is enough of a millennial twist to it to make it feel relevant, and the whole feels familliar because it is written to evoke memories of that confusing and life changing period.
Towards the end of the first issue things take a turn to the more spectacular and the story heads off in a direction which we will try not to spoil too much here. It’s an interesting one, but not necessarily one which is entirely welcome. While it is all done very well, we were enjoying the teen angst and character based drama and would quite happily have had more of that rather than the twist.
Visually Giotto does a fantastic job with the dialogue heavy content, and his very realistic, but loose style has the personality and detail of Sean Philips’ Criminal work, mixed with a bit of David Aja from Hawkeye. When the story veers off into the fantastical the artwork becomes a little too loose for our liking, but that is because the conversational stuff is so well handled. Giotto is ably assisted by by the always brilliant Dee Cuniffe on colours and Micah Myers on lettering, which gives the whole package a really slick and stylish finish.
Overall Youth is a very strong addition to the originals stable. It feels like a book with plenty to say and feels a bit more substantial than some of the other more lightweight books which have made up the Original line up so far. (And that’s not just because it has sex drugs and swearing in it). With Youth Pires has brought a very strong and mature story to originals. The biggest compliment we can pay it is that it feels like an Image book, with strong character work, some great visuals and a strong sense of design holding the series together.
With talk of a second season already in the pipeline this feels like a story which could grow and grow and with it comiXology could well have their first series with some genre substance to it. How it develops will be interesting to see, but after this instalment we can’t wait to see Youth grow up.