Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Art: Dave Acosta
Inks: Jay Leisten
Colors: Walter Pereyra
Letters: Shawn Lee
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: April 19th, 2023
Terrorwar #1 introduces Blue City, population 100,000,000, where people’s deepest fears can manifest as kaiju-style beasts called Terrors that rampage and destroy entire city blocks. Enter the Terrorfighters, operatives with the ability to generate brain bullets, allowing them to go full Rambo on the massive creatures, incinerating them in a hail of ammunition. Muhammad Cho, world-weary and cynical Terrorfighter, battles Terrors along with his team, collecting bounties on each and making a great living at it. But in this world, what’s a bigger threat: Terrors or the Terrorfighters who’ll do anything to destroy them?
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The world of Terrorwar #1 is similar to other cyberpunk and urban fantasy settings we’ve seen before. It’s a dystopian world filled with ghettos and every variety of misery you can imagine. Video screens placed in nearly every crevice of the city broadcast positive propaganda messages throughout the day, placating the populace and filling them with hopes that will never see fruition. Muhammad Cho, the star of the book, is as cynical and misanthropic as it gets, but there are moments of deep humanity in him that differentiate him from the other Terrorfighters who operate solely on making money and profit. The issue does a good job introducing Cho and the four other members of his Terrorfighter team. They reminded me of the soldiers in the film “Aliens”, each one having a distinct personality. Rosie, the team’s security expert, is very much like Vasquez, the fiery warrior who was one of my favorite characters in “Aliens”. She’s forceful, has no time for fools and is a wall of muscle. She’s going to be fun to follow in future issues.
With most of Cho’s team seemingly in this for the money, I can see interesting conflicts in the future between them and Cho, who seems to be a Terrorfighter because he wants to save people and not because of the lucrative bounties that come with it. The most enjoyable aspect of the book are the Terrors. These aren’t giant smoldering lizards like Godzilla or mammoth flying moths like Rodan. They’re giant versions of a person’s deepest fear come to life, so they can be anything. In one scene that’s both terrifying and hilarious, a Terror that looks like Kermit the Frog (complete with suspenders) stomps through the city, grabbing a person and instantly burning them to ash before Muhammad can destroy it. This is going to be the funnest part of the series, seeing the various Terrors, each more bizarre than the last, wreaking havoc on the city.
Dave Acosta and Jay Leisten’s art on Terrorwar #1 perfectly captures the bleakness and grime of the book’s world.
The design of each of the Terrors is imaginative and amplifies the horror aspect of the book. You can almost feel the seismic stomping of the massive beasts and when the Terrorfighters are battling them, they look tiny compared to the creatures.
All the characters are drawn with an expressiveness that lets their personalities shine.
Terrorwar #1 is a great beginning to a new series, incorporating elements of cyberpunk, kaiju and 80’s action films and introducing a great new cast of characters with Muhammad Cho and his team. There’s enough here to get the reader hooked, with a cliffhanger ending that promises to make next issue even more intense. Recommended.