By Leroy Douresseaux
September 24, 2007 - 13:39
LOVE AND ROCKETS VOL. II #20
CREATORS: Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez
56 pp., B&W/color, $7.99
For Love and Rockets Vol. II #20, the brothers Hernandez – Gilbert and Jaime – offer the biggest and liveliest issue yet. First off is “La Maggie La Loca,” Jaime’s serial which first appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine and is included here in full color (just as it did for the Times appearance) with four added pages and some mild language excluded from the original run. Jaime’s second offering is a black and white tale, “Gold Diggers of 1969,” a tale set during Maggie’s pre-school years.
Not to be left out, Gilbert presents the novella, “Venus and you,” which presents Venus’s Tia Fritz through the eyes of 17-year-old Venus. Venus, her family, friends, and associates take a long look at Fritz’s cult (to say the least) film career, but the story also closes the door on Gilbert’s post-Palomar stories (for now?)
THE LOWDOWN: Los Bros. has been so good for so long that it’s easy to take them for granted (and quite a few people actually do), so when an exceptionally good issue of Love and Rockets pops up, it’s a lovely punch in the stomach. Jaime delivers his best recent work here, and getting his sequential comix in color is a rare treat (remember the lovely Mechanics three-issue mini-series from the mid-80’s?). Steven Weissman does such a grand job coloring “La Maggie La Loca.”
“La Maggie La Loca” is a coda of sorts (or sequel, if you will) to “Las Mujeres Perdidas,” the second “Mechanics” serial, published in the early to mid-1980’s. La Loca addresses Maggie’s relationship with her Aunt Vicki Glory, the famed wrestler and a “Mechanics” co-star. “La Maggie” perfectly fits with the original tale (which was something of a pulp adventure) while also showing just how much Jaime has grown as a writer of character drama since the early days of L&R. This growth is also strongly evident in “Gold Diggers of 1969.”
Gilbert’s “Venus and you” is a strange hybrid; it’s a poignant drama that resembles a comic romp – the romping done through the wretched and scandalous film career of Fritz, a half-sister of Gilbert’s signature character, Luba. For all the Palomar/Luba comix that Gilbert has already produced, he manages to leave us wanting more.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Love and Rockets Vol. II #20 is a homecoming for all L&R fans before the book moves to its new format with #21.
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