What becomes of Angry Young Men? In the case of Max Collins, the man at the center of Nabiel Kanan's THE BIRTHDAY RIOTS, Angry Young Men largely become Detached Old Shadows of the men they used to be. A onetime firebrand turned political advisor for a London mayoral candidate, Max has a nice house in the country, a nice family waiting for him to come home, and a nice perspective on life that seems to function largely on omission. Max doesn't see his family starting to fray around the edges and doesn't see the powder keg about to blow in and around London. Max only sees his nice life, until it starts to come apart around him.
Kanan's great trick in the pages of THE BIRTHDAY RIOTS is that he infuses Max with a complexity and likeability that makes it hard for the reader to condemn him outright. For every morally shaky action he takes, we see his kindness, compassion, or simple charm. The ethical compromises we see him make over the course of his life aren't so hard to imagine ourselves making. Max isn't a hand-wringing, flop-sweating caricature of evil government, but perhaps something more insidious: a man trying to make the best decisions he can, only to find himself so far off of his own path he's not sure whom he is anymore.
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.