We Are The Danger #1

Writer: Fabian Lelay
Artist: Fabian Lelay
Colorist: Claudia Aguirre
Letterers: Taylor Esposito and Jay Castro
Publisher: Black Mask Studios

A review by Kylee Sills

There’s a universal experience felt when heading to basement rock concerts or bar shows or local venues alone, especially as a woman, and We Are The Danger perfectly encapsulates that feeling in the very beginning. The opening sequence effortlessly brought me back to those days in my youth, right down to the giant Sharpie Xs on the back of my hands that I’d beeline to the bathroom to try to wash off immediately. I wasn’t straight edge, I was seventeen, dammit! (What are you drinking? Can I have a sip?)

Julie is the newest senior at her high school, who was able to make a friend based on her musical talents with the guitar and finds herself at a gig trying to meet up with said new friend. Tabitha, originally thought to be standing her up, turns out to have a pretty good reason for doing so and manages to catch up with Julie after the show. Together, they decide to form their own band and take on Tabitha’s rival, Logan Ingram.

This slice-of-life comic drops readers into the heart of high school drama, to great effect by the creator, writer, and illustrator Fabian Lelay. The immediate bond between Julie and Tabitha sets the pace and things progress quickly in this first issue, from friendship to the formation of the band to the establishment of the rivalry. This gives a good idea of what audiences can look forward to in the upcoming issues (battle of the bands!).

Not only is Julie the new girl in school, but she also brings a diversity to the book with her Filipino heritage. Taylor Esposito, with the help of Jay Castro, flawlessly integrates performances into panels with the fantastic use of lettering in the background. But it’s when Julie is urged to perform that they give readers a doubly magic moment through her performance in Filipino with the words appearing behind her. It’s a creative way to tackle the challenges of presenting a sound-heavy story in a visual medium.

Lelay also works hard to give each character their own unique look and personality. Strong expressions and dynamic poses, as well as the choice to focus on the thoughts and feelings as people perform give more insight into this character-driven story than if readers were left trying to imagine the sonic entertainment. Colorist Claudia Aguirre keeps things bright with a color palette that feels nostalgic while also incorporating pops of neon that harken to the bombastic rock and roll vibes of the band.

I greatly enjoyed the exploration of different ways to connect these characters together. The friendly text messages between Tabitha and Julie juxtaposed against the ones tipping Logan off about their new band forming serve to enhance the fast-paced movement of the book. Between those interactions and the “anonymous” Twitter callout, those feeling wistful for their own concert-going days can tell that this story is still firmly rooted in the present.

The Verdict
Buy It! The energy of We Are The Danger is infectious and the creative team delivers an exuberant slice-of-life tale that reels readers in with the easy promise of a good time. Judging from the performances already shown, they’re relying on strong characterization, art, and lettering to allow audiences the opportunity to come up with their own ideas as to how the bands sound in upcoming issues. It’s a smart decision that makes for a more interesting story that’s already got me hooked. Add in a diverse cast of characters, the makings of epic friendships, and rock and roll and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Disclaimer: Rogues Portal Editor-In-Chief Stephanie Cooke is the editor of We Are The Danger. I acknowledge this information and assert that this fact had no bearing on the review.

Kylee Sills
Kylee is a twentysomething year old nerd who is perpetually behind on comic book movies. She writes in her free time and enjoys sci-fi, horror, and fantasy settings in all of her media. Fluent in sarcasm, she can't pick a favorite food because the answer is 'all food.'

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