Thursday, September 23, 2010

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3

Jaime Hernandez & Gilbert Hernandez

The Hernandez Brothers return for the third annual release of Love and Rockets: New Stories, and this may be their best offering yet, with both artists contributing a few short stories.  Gilbert Hernandez has long been a favorite artist of mine, and he doesn't disappoint with his new offerings.  The first story from him is "Scarlet by Starlight," another comic adaptation of one of Fritz's movies (of which the graphic novels The Troublemakers, Chance In Hell and Speak of the Devil are a part of), in which she plays a fur-covered beast that becomes curious about some explorers who are doing research in the area.  She becomes attracted to one of the human men, resulting in the jealous rage of her mate.  It's a bloody little fantasy with plenty of disturbing sexual sequences.  Gilbert's second story is "Killer * Sad Girl * Star," following Killer, who may or may not have what it takes to follow in Fritz's footsteps in show business.  While Gilbert's stories are high-quality offerings with fantastic art, it's Jaime who steals the show with his stories.  "The Love Bunglers" is split into two parts, with the bulk of it offered toward the beginning of the book, with a short epilogue that ties in the other story, "Browntown" at the end of this volume.  "The Love Bunglers" follows Maggie as she goes on a few dates with a friend from the past.  "Browntown" is where Jaime really offers a show stopper.  The tale is about Maggie and her family when they were younger and several life-changing events that occurred to them that would shape their future.  It's paced beautifully, and Jaime really develops these characters and what they're going through effortlessly, sometimes through facial expressions and actions, and sometimes through dialogue, like how the final "The Love Bunglers" epilogue comments on that time in their lives.  Jaime may have produced one of the best stories of his career here, and certainly one of the most exciting releases of the year.

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