What's Happening Peter Milligan (Hellblazer, Greek Street) is yet again attempting to make one of his his punk/magic characters into one that will stick around on its own, and perhaps grant him a legacy beyond being just one of the great Hellblazer writers. The only problem is that for anyone who has read, and admired, Milligan's work over the years, Punk Mambo #0 just feels like more of the same. In other words, only Milligan could write a punk/voodoo character into a location (the Louisiana swamp) as part of a character's story (Shadowman) where she really doesn't belong.
The WritingPunk Mambo #0 IS a Peter Milligan story, so it moves along smartly and sharply, but takes us places we've been before: underground/punk culture London, and delivers characters that are all too familiar: Punk Mambo could easily have been one of John Constantine's ill fated loves, and Joe Mayhem (the evil old punk houngan that serves as Punk Mambo's unintentional mentor in the voodoo arts) could be a John Constantine evil doppelganger. Fortunately, for Valiant readers who have never read a Milligan story or are only vaguely acquainted with Milligan's older tales, Punk Mambo #0, and the character herself, are something fresh and new...to said Valiant readers only though. Milligan fans will find themselves a bit disappointed as he seems to repeat himself once again.
The Artwork Robert Gill (Eternal Warrior Volume 2, Armor Hunters: Harbingers) does an excellent job here. His gritty style is perfect for a London punk story, and he effortlessly bounced back and forth between the Louisiana swamp setting and the urban gravel of London. His attention to detail is where he really excels though. Each panel is full of it, and beautifully laden with minutia, which is great. Gill has been doing some really great work for Valiant Comics recently and I can't wait to see what he takes on next.
The VerdictPunk Mambo #0 is a solid story and a beautiful work of art, as well as something fresh and new to current Valiant readers. It flushes out a whole new part of the world, pretty much left untouched until now, in the Valiant Universe 2.0. Unfortunately, for long term Peter Milligan readers, it feels like a tale twice (or more) told, is nothing new, and fails to move Milligan's legacy along.