Americans are privileged. Most us really have no clue just how good we have it until you experience parts of the rest of the world. That American ignorance is front and center and ready to be exploited in No Mercy. A group of ivy league bound college students take a trip abroad to pad their resume’s before the school year starts. For most of these kids it’s their first time out of the country and they’re having the typical spoiled rich kid views. Early on we know things don’t go well for these kids courtesy of a full page spread showing a Facebook post where people are leaving their condolences. The page is very powerful and has an ominous feel.
Their guide for the trip is a nun who drops subtle hints about the possible dangers that lie ahead. At one point she asks for $50 from the groups lead for “toll”. She says that the road is the safest and quickest because “the bandito’s and the local police can’t afford the toll”. You already know bad things are in store for these kids and the moments of foreshadowing are creepy reminders of the turmoil that lays ahead.
One criticism is the hammering home of the stereotypes. One student asks a black student if he is a basketball player. If not a basketball player he must be a football player. You have plenty of typical “dumb college girl types”. And then of course there’s the obviously smart, a little over weight, probably a lesbian girl who is getting picked on. Sometimes I feel like creators try too hard when they’re trying to make a point and this felt like one of those times. I’ll be curious to see how they play this angle as the story goes on but I hope that it’s reeled back in just a little bit. It’s fine if the story is being set but it can be annoying if it continues throughout the remainder of this series. Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Bitch Planet was a recent example of taking a point and beating it until it was dead.
Overall I loved this first chapter and this should be a worthy addition to your pull list.
**** 4 stars