Fantagraphics; 1984; $1.95; 36 pgs; available collected.
The first story in Love and Rockets #6–Beto’s Heartbreak Soup Theater: The Mystery Wen–brings back some more of the Palomar cast. But after the jump-ahead Beto did with the Luba story. Wen is about grown-up accordion teacher Heraclio having a bump on his head and freaking out about it. He’s now married to Carmen (who hasn’t gotten any taller).
It’s a six page story, all comedic. Beto plots it out like a series of strips. Little scenes with rising actions and resolutions, focusing on the bump plot. It’s fun. Carmen’s got some of the same traits as before, but Heraclio is pretty much a restart. But with the same history. The story starts the issue off quite well and will provide a contrast to Beto’s Luba story, which is featured on the cover.
But first it’s time for Mechanics. Jaime’s loving the art this story. There’s some noirish stuff, a lot of action, a lot of physical comedy, a lot of depth composition stuff. It’s eight pages–Maggie goes back to work, where a fetching reporter named Dot is trying to get Race for a feature article. She thinks she can make him a heartthrob. It’s mostly the physical comedy, though Hopey and Penny show up for a page. It grounds the story with Maggie, who isn’t involved with all the Dot and Race antics; she’s mostly bystander.
It’s a good setup. Some great art. The last panel–the teaser for the next installment–is both predictable and rewarding. Jaime’s established a tone for the story and promises more in the same vein.
Then it’s time for Act of Contrition, Part 2, Beto’s Luba story. The Palomar side of the story–even though it starts with townsfolk gossiping about Luba and her dance paramour, Archie–doesn’t figure in much. Most of the story is Archie’s. Beto reveals some things–he and Luba’s backstory, his hidden profession (mortician)–and gives him the big moments later on. It’s only eleven pages. Beto does a bunch in eleven pages.
The subplots from the previous installment sort of carry over but, again, it’s mostly Archie’s story. The first part’s B subplots go C here. They support Luba, it’s not Luba’s story this time. Good art. Great mood.
The last story is Jaime’s four-page “half chapter” for Mechanics. Penny is telling Maggie how she knows Race. It’s a lot of good art and funny scenes. Penny tells the story, which feels a little romance-y with the pace (and the outfits), but in a good way. Jaime handles the humor well between the flashback and the present; the tones are very different.
It’s a good issue. Of course it is. It’s Love and Rockets.