Fantagraphics; 1984; $1.95; 36 pgs; available collected.
Jaime gets a few more pages on Mechanics this issue and it changes the reading experience a bit. He has time to dawdle. This installment brings Rena Titañon in–it’s been a while since her last appearance (in present or flashback)–but also has time to give Hopey a whole subplot. And a whole other implied subplot because Izzy had an accident at Hopey’s apartment, a serious enough one to put Izzy in the hospital. Even though it doesn’t get explained.
There’s also enough room for Jaime to explore the band. At least, the bandmates gossiping about Hopey, Maggie, and whatever else. Jaime introduces some too obvious to be serious foreshadowing with the bandmates scenes too. It kind of works, kind of doesn’t. Similarly, Dot the reporter kind of works here and kind of doesn’t, as her seduction of Race (away from Maggie).
Then there’s the action finale, which Jaime executes beautifully.
Jaime’s not exactly stretching with the extra pages but he’s definitely exuberantly reaching. Again, he’s letting Mechanics get away from Maggie, which means more action maybe, but also less focus.
Then Beto has two Palomar stories.
The first one, The Laughing Sun, brings in the tween boys from the first Palomar story. They’re not tweens anymore, it’s ten years after that story (the first time–I think–there’s been an exact duration given). One of them attacks his wife and child, the rest reunite to track him down. Beto’s got all sorts of nods to the original story–or does he, because maybe it’s just how Palomar is going to progress. In temporal fluidity. But they feel like nods. With flashback, he can foreshadow past events for effect. And fun. Sometimes he just seems to be doing it for fun, which is nice because it’s a heavy story. And it cliffhangs because everything resolutionary is next issue.
And Beto’s second story is under the Heartbreak Soup Theater banner, On Isidro’s Beach. It’s a Luba story, more specifically, it’s a Luba’s daughter daughter Lupe story. She’s the second oldest (I think) and obsessed with Les Misérables (the book). And she’s a great protagonist for the story. Or the most pages of it. Because it goes back to Luba for the last three pages when the heaviness arrives. The sadness of life stuff.
Beto still gets in some good jokes, including a great finishing one.
It’s a strange issue. The stories don’t feel balanced, like Jaime’s going too long and Beto’s getting shorted. But not exactly because Beto’s pace on his stories is so good. They’re just breezy reads. Kind of too breezy. While Mechanics is full and good but clunky. But not exactly because Jaime can still get it to flow smoothly, full and clunky or not.