In their new series We Are the Danger, writer/artist Fabian Lelay and colorist Claudia Aguirre channel teenage angst and uncertainty into pop rock magic. Jules is the new girl in town and having the usual issues making friends and finding her niche that all people who have moved from place to place can relate to. But, then, she gets invited to a gig by a super cool, pink haired drummer named Tabitha, and the rest is pretty thrilling from there. Lelay’s candid captions and hyper-expresssive art, Aguirre’s power pop color palette, and Taylor Esposito’s livewire letters recapture a time when meeting a new, cool friend could open a world of potential to you whether that’s learning about a new band, going to a gig, or best of all, starting your own.
Fabian Lelay dual wields the proverbial weapon of conflict in We Are the Danger #1 centering it mainly on Jules’ very real desire to have friends and belong somewhere and awkwardness of being in a new place while also introducing some external conflict between Tabitha and her old bandmate, Logan, who seems like a more diva-ish version of CHVRCHES’ Lauren Mayberry. (In design, at least.) So, when Tabitha and Jules start their new band with bassist Scooter and a stylish girl with black and white guitar, who is pretty and tense and can definitely shred, it’s not just about the music; it’s also to spite Logan. Tabitha may play the drums like a slightly less deadpan Kim Pine, but she immediately puts a target on the band’s back. She’s a character who is cool and quick witted on the outside, but she definitely has some problems. However, Tabitha was the first person that reached out to Jules at her new home and invited her to do something fun so they have a real bond.
We Are the Danger #1 is just a slice of life teen band book, but Lelay’s art and especially Aguirre’s colors make it look magical. Any time music is being played, whether at a quick acoustic jam session at Jules’ place or the gig that opens up the comic, Aguirre uses vivid background colors, and Lelay draws closed eyed close-up of the characters to show how much music means to them. Or there’s a giant mosh pit that allows for manga-esque pratfalls like Jules basically swooning for Tabitha’s bishonen (She finds out about this later.) brother. There’s an air of wonder to everything seen through Jules’ eyes, and her friendship with Tabitha is easy. Maybe, a little too easy, and the origin of the interpersonal conflict between Logan and Tabitha is definitely a subplot to pay attention to going forward.
Even if the story is set in the present, and subtweeting is a major plot point, Fabian Lelay gives We Are the Danger a great retro vibe in some of his art and layout choices. This makes sense when artists like Paramore, who weren’t even alive when New Wave ruled the charts, are making albums in homage to that period or Janelle Monae’s new single “Make Me Feel” seems like a forgotten B-side to “Kiss” by Prince to name two of many. Lelay uses a mixtape shaped layout to tell Jules’ “origin story” with the “track titles” foreshadowing future plot developments and doubling as good song names. This style choices combined with clean, emotion filled artwork make We Are the Danger a breezy, pleasurable read with quips and melodrama to boot. Plus Claudia Aguirre really knows how to light up a stage with cool Photoshop effects to go with her colors.
We Are the Danger #1 has all the raw emotion and passion of your favorite summer pop single that happens to feature some distorted guitars to give it a little edge. Fabian Lelay and Claudia Aguirre take two relatable situations: feeling like an outcast at a new place and loving music with every ounce of energy and turns into yet another hit for Black Mask Studios.
Story/Art: Fabian Lelay Colors: Claudia Aguirre Letters: Taylor Esposito
Story: 7.8 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy
Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review