Advance Review: Partying Their Youth Away In `It’s Only Teenage Wasteland’ #1

by Tom Smithyman


A group of high schoolers planning a party may not seem like an exciting premise for a comic book, but some real slice-of-life dialogue and the mystery of something larger happening makes for an interesting first issue.


Javi and his friends are typical high schoolers. They aren’t the most popular kids in school, but they aren’t the total losers either. They’re somewhere in between – the kids who often slip through the cracks.

So when Javi’s parents head out of town, he sees the opportunity to elevate his social status by throwing a party. Most of the premiere issue of this four-part series (published Dark Horse calls it the first arc) deals the with setup to the party – convincing the older sister to look the other way, inviting all kinds of students and finally pulling off the soiree. (And there’s plenty of masturbation jokes in between.)

Writer Curt Pires’ plot may not sound like the most exciting or original idea for a comic book, but this issue is interesting in its slice-of-life approach, if nothing else. It’s also full of interesting characters, though a few – particularly the bad kids who crash the party – are a bit thin. We don’t need a Confederate flag behind these guys to understand that they are jerks.

But there is more to this series that teen talk and partying. This installment is bookended by a mysterious seemingly post-apocalyptic world where Javi is running for his life. It’s literally a teenage wasteland.

Artist Jacoby Salcedo’s style blends well with the book’s teen angst theme. The characters are all distinct, but easily recognizable from page to page. Every once in a while, he inserts a pop-up panel within a larger one to emphasize a point. It’s a curious device – and one that takes a little getting used to as it’s not always clear why he chooses to point out that specific detail.

As the series progresses, the party is over, and things look to get pretty real for Javi and friends. That will probably be a boon for the audience since putting these interesting characters in a difficult situation should result in good reading.

It’s Only Teenage Wasteland #1 will be available for purchase on December 7, 2022.

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