Fantagraphics; 1984; $1.95; 36 pgs; available collected.
Love and Rockets #7 opens with Mechanics and with this haunting image of Maggie in front of the sea, looking out of the page, quietly crying. The action immediately cuts away; Hopey and Penny (with a new haircut, colored like a skunk, and looking nothing like Penny) read a letter from Maggie recounting her latest Mechanic adventure. There’s Rand Race, of course, but also creepy rich guy hiring them to work on robots. Jaime amps up the strange–lots and lots of strange–before closing on the Race, Maggie, and Dot the reporter love triangle.
Jaime mixes romance comic angles and comic strip pacing. It’s a breezy read, light adventure comedy. Jaime’s art gets it through the somewhat shallow depth. Race ain’t that interesting. At least, not yet.
Then it’s Act of Contrition, Part Three from Beto, which is breezy and sort of light and sort of comedy, but it’s still incredibly dramatic. Beto splits the ten pages between Archie and the Palomar residents. Actually, the point of view sort of progresses, because how Archie gets back with Luba is what it’s all about. Only there’s a lot going on. So it’s sort of about how Archie gets integrated into Palomar-proper.
It’s a nice chapter; Beto enjoys showcasing the humanity of the characters here. Even when they’re problematic people, he keeps digging.
The next story is Locos. Not Locas, Locos. Speedy gets his own story, though he’s really just telling his friend all about Izzy. Izzy, who really is Izzy Ruebens, who Jaime used as a pseudonym for the first Mechanics story and then gave her own story. As a mystery writer (so was I right about guessing it or did I just not remember this confirmation consciously). Nothing about nun stuff though. There was an Izzy Ruebens, a nun, narrator page once.
It’s a strange story because it offers another take on Izzy, who Jaime usually uses for comic relief opposite Maggie and Hopey. It casts her as this sad, haunted person, who Izzy doesn’t exactly come across when she gets her own pages. It’s rather interesting how Jaime’s expanding the Locas “universe.”
He also uses Spanish to English translations at the bottom of each page; it’s similar, but different, from what Beto did on the first Heartbreak Soup story. Beto, of course, was doing Spanish proper noun pronunciations. You’d think Chelo sounded like cello but no. Or I would’ve anyway.
Speaking of Beto and Heartbreak Soup, the final story in the issue is The Whispering Tree. It’s another sidequel (to the main Palomar tale, Contrition) with Luba’s kids having a little adventure. Three pages. For laughs. Even though Jaime’s the one with the exploration of comic strip narrative principles, Beto can do it too. It’s a funny strip, lots of exaggerated action, a great–thoughtful too–punchline.
It’s a good issue. Light, happy, and good.