Honestly, living through your teenage years most of the time feels like a constant end of the world. Everything is changing and falling apart. Things that might be meaningless get infused with the deepest of meanings, and you are constantly feeling like you want to die (either because of embarrassment or existential dread). Now, imagine what would happen if you combined the teenage experience with the actual end of the world. This is the idea the new comic by Curt Pires, Jacoby Salcedo, Mark Dale, and Micah Myers, It’s Only Teenage Wasteland, explores.
It’s Only Teenage Wasteland is the story of Javi, a run-of-the-mill teenager who has run-of-the-mill teenager problems like trying to scale the high school social ladder and trying to jack off without his mom catching him. But one day, Javi gets the chance that every teenager is looking for, throwing a party while his parents are away from home, but even if Javis doesn’t know it yet, his party is going to become legendary for the simple reason about to coincide with the fucking end of the world.
The first issue of this four-issue mini-series focuses more on the “teenage” part than on the “wasteland” part, functioning as a great introduction to the characters and their world before getting into the action. Curt Pires manages to evade cliches and writes teenagers like actual human beings with their own unique personalities and interests. There are popular kids, bullies, and outcasts, but it doesn’t feel like a collection of one-dimensional archetypes. The group of main characters feels like an actual group of friends and not like a sitcom roster, which makes the story a lot more enjoyable. Javi, in particular, feels like a great narrator whose honesty and relatability make this story a worthwhile read.
The art by Jacoby Salsedo and the colors by Mark Dale really make this comic stand out. Salsedo’s style is simple but striking; the way he draws character expressions and the details his art focuses on make for an engaging and fun story, really showing what the characters are feeling and thinking. Dale’s colors create the perfect mood for each scene, clearly differentiating between the funny bits, the action scenes, and the emotional moments. This comic is just really good at visual storytelling.
‘It’s Only Teenage Wasteland’ it’s like if Scott Pilgrim and The Nice House at The Lake had a child together, with the perfect balance of chaotic fun and what the fuck moments to keep the reader glued to the pages. You might think you have seen every version of the high school story and apocalyptic tale played out, but if this first issue is proof of anything, is that this comic might be the end of the world as we have never seen it before. This comic is a must-read for anyone that likes fun, simple, chaotic, and sincere stories.