Written by: Bradford Winters & Larry Cohen
Art by: Daniel Irizarri & Matt Battaglia
Americatown #1 tries to make readers think a little differently about the issue of immigration—whether illegal or not, by slipping the proverbial shoe on the other foot and asking, ‘What if American citizens were the ones fighting/paying/sneaking into another country to forge a new life after an ‘economic collapse’ and how would they cope with the dangers and pressures of such an event?’ Now, anybody that can come up with an original doctrine that makes us question our opinions and beliefs deserves some praise, but I found the idea to be lazy and unnecessary. Why not just write a story about immigration from the perspective of the individuals really fighting to live somewhere else in the world—those effected by war, poverty and disease in the countries that are really suffering? It seems like a waste of a platform to rattle on about Americans struggling when there are real issues with real people elsewhere in the world, struggling on a daily basis.
Winters and Cohen haven’t done an awful job though. The pacing is good and the dialogue seems to flow well, with some well addressed personal relationships and social unrest portrayed with dialogue that gives the reader a slight uneasy feeling. One of the issues I did find with Americatown #1 was the occasional time when the flow of the story seems out of sync, and you are trying to keep focus and stay with it; I wasn’t sure if this was to do with the writing or the artwork, but something didn’t seem right.
Irizarri and Baattaglia’s efforts towards the artwork are pretty good. Matt’s colours are varied and lucid; they help to give the simple illustrations a life they may not have had otherwise. The simplicity of the faces and environments don’t stand out and you feel as though the story is playing out in a single scene. I couldn’t really differentiate from one setting to the next and on the whole, the panels were more banal than breath-taking.
Americatown #1 certainly has the space to grow, but for me, it just didn’t grab me. I couldn’t enjoy the artwork and the story’s concept was trying to be cleverer than it actually is.