Boundless Nihilism And Aimless Destruction In Sukeban Turbo #1

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Shelby and her friends have formed a gang called the Sukeban Tribe. Their gang is modeled after a manga and anime they enjoy called Sukeban Tribe, and it is what they love more than anything else in the world. They terrorize the other girls at their school, go on warpaths down the street, and sell drugs at nightclubs and parties. Shelby has a tumultuous relationship with her mother, and her dad is almost always absent.

Sukeban Turbo #1 cover by Victor Santos
Sukeban Turbo #1 cover by Victor Santos

Sukeban Turbo #1 presents a startlingly nihilistic dive into a crew of abandoned and aimless girls looking to find solace and enjoyment in each other’s company and exacting power and misery upon others.
Shelby and her friends show no redeeming or likable qualities in this first issue. They are driven, yes, but they are only driven by fighting and immediate satisfaction.
They represent a generation abandoned and left to run amok. They have no role models or guidance beyond that found in the Sukeban Tribe fiction. Sukeban Turbo shows anxiety about the current generations and the children that follow us; we have a vast divide between us and our elders. Many have been outright abandoned and scorned by their elders. Every generation fears and sometimes even hates the one that follows them, but it has been a long time since the divide has felt this vast and the state of the world has felt this extreme.
It all adds up to an enrapturing read, and I find myself absorbed by it. The one shortcoming is that the comic attempts to get the reader to feel sympathy for Shelby because of her relationship with her mother, but they seem to be pretty damn well off–that somewhat (though not entirely) undercuts the strenuous parental relationship.
There is a B-plot about a boy band that feels a little out of place as the comic doesn’t show how it connects to Shelby and her crew–at least not yet.
Sukeban Turbo #1 art by Victor Santos and letterer Shawn Lee
Sukeban Turbo #1 art by Victor Santos and letterer Shawn Lee

Victor Santos’ artwork affects almost a slapdash graffiti appearance. Characters often look almost flat, and the background is often somewhat obfuscated and covered in smoke-like shading. The color work is often monochromatic, only offset by the Sukeban jackets or other details in the foreground. It’s a distinct look, and it suits the story well.
Sukeban Turbo #1 is a compelling dive into youthful nihilism and the feeling that the world has already abandoned you. It is a rallying cry and a fearful observation for a generation, and, despite the flaws it does have, I’m left compelled to see where this story goes. This one earns a recommendation. Check it out.
Sukeban Turbo #1 comes to us from writer Sylvain Runberg, artist and cover artist Victor Santos, letterer Shawn Lee, and variant cover artist Claire Roe.

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