Ah, the summer before college is a wondrous time for all nervous freshman. The characters in Alex De Campi’s new book, No Mercy, decide to get ahead of their soon-to-be Princeton classmates by going to “Mataguey” to help build some houses; what could go wrong? The only perilous thing that happens is the bus running off the road and crashing into a ditch. No problems here.
De Campi takes us on the journey with myriad characters. There is the traveling hipster, girl with her first smartphone, creepy guy, and apathetic bystander, amongst others. Most of these characters don’t have much time to be fleshed out in issue one, but it will be very interesting to see how they’ll work together to fight off coyotes and the other harsh realities of the Mataguey interior. De Campi does develop the apathetic character at the beginning of the book. This character voices her concern over going to a foreign land to prove they are the best students; the ones who work the hardest. Will all these alpha students be able to set aside their egos to help one another? Brother and sister Chad and Charlene already have problems working together and perhaps they’ll lead different sides in the issues to come. This introduction is helped by the easy access to the story. Everyone can relate to the feelings of going somewhere different and trying to make friends and not be a complete idiot. De Campi has started a series that will intrigue into the future. The shady character in the bus has to be behind the cocaine, right? The traveling hipster, Travis, has already done tons of cocaine assuredly.
The art provided by Carla Speed McNeil and Jenn Manley Lee also feels easily accessed. The bright colors and action scenes during the bus crash look like they come straight from a movie. The liberal use of action words is appreciated, as every vehicle incident is utterly terrifying. McNeil is to be applauded for drawing upwards of fifteen teenagers as radically different as their personalities seem to be. Lee’s colors may look simple, but they contrast between the very interesting characters and the less-than-interesting background. That is until the bus is upside down and the world is upended.
No Mercy, as the name implies, will hit its strides with the violence in the near future. The introductory issue casts a wide net hoping to draw in a varied crowd who can relate to most of the characters. Going further, the nihilism and violence should keep most reading, but not all will survive.