DC Comics
Young Liars #5
By Zak Edwards
July 17, 2008 - 21:03

Vertigo Comics
Writer(s): David Lapham
Penciller(s): David Lapham
Cover Artist(s): David Lapham
$2.99 US, $3.05 Canada

Young Liars reminds me of Transmetropolitan sometimes.  Both are very well written with intelligence and complete lack of caring about offending.  Both contain characters which are compelling, reckless, and self-destructive.  But both also continue to push their own boundaries, not just the boundaries of society.  They out perform themselves because there is really no one else to compete with.  So when Danny, the protagonist of Young Liars, states that the final scene wasn’t the low point, and believe me, it’s a ver low point anyway, I believe it and wait in eager anticipation of how David Lapham will outdo himself without going so over the top to make the whole thing a joke.  But then again, maybe this whole thing is a joke, in which case, I don’t get it.

Young Liars was released by Vertigo in a key point of the publisher’s life.  Y: The Last Man is over, 100 Bullets is nearing its conclusion along with other titles, and the last straw being Marvel opening its eyes and seeing the potential of mature comic books and releasing books like Criminal and Kick-Ass.  Vertigo has to stay ahead like it has for all these years.  Young Liars is one such series which will help Vertigo’s fight to recover from its line-up changes and if you’re not on board, you’re missing out.  Mind you, it is not for the easily offended, but if images like a transvestite passed out with a needle in her arm is okay, then you may enjoy the series.  The series is smart, funny, shocking, and a great story, what else do you need?

But enough about the series and more about issue number 5, which takes place in Spain while the group tries to get their bearings.  Sadie, being the amoral focus of Danny’s attention and affections, has all but disappeared into the club scene and leaving Danny in a pit of self-loathing.  Lapham uses this separation to display Danny more as a character and pays off beautifully.  Seeing Danny make bad decisions is half fun and half torture and pleading.  Its difficult to see but brings some great storytelling with it.  Sadie remains curiously redeemable for a girl with no conscience.  Even without a moral compass, she seems to be able to make proper judgments.  The difference between her and Danny is becoming more and more important as the series progresses.  Why Sadie still makes decisions which end up being good and Danny can’t get out of his own way is making a lot of suggestions about the real world.  The rest of the story, no surprise, pushes the envelope and helps plot development in many ways.  Seems treacherous thoughts are afoot.  Another thing this series does so well is give you your money’s worth.  Each issue is packed with content to enjoy.  The only complaint of this issue is the midget hired gun.  While the series is based around excess, the midget assassin simply feels too crazy, or crazy in the wrong way.  Self-parody rarely works well (All Star Batman and Robin is a great example of a dismal attempt at it) and Lapham would do well to steer clear of self-mockery, especially when it seems like a good idea.  It is a type of humourous device which is too low for this series.  One may laugh, but it certainly isn’t a laugh one feels good about after.

David Lapham’s pencils work well for his series.  He can convey everything with perfectly clarity.  The flow is clear as well, as is his pacing.  Everything about it is great that way.  But there is nothing these pencils do which amazes me.  His art makes perfect sense for the story being told and I continue to applaud Lapham for drawing characters that look like people rather than sex goddesses, it adds to the level of realism the story is based in.  The story may be absurd in real terms, but much of it is firmly based in fiction and Lapham has steered clear of both science fiction and fantasy elements which allows for a continued shock value for the series.

9/10    One of the best series going, if you can handle it.

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