Saturday, December 14, 2019


FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS – @fantagraphics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITERS: Gilbert Hernandez; Jaime Hernandez – @BetomessGilbert @xaimeh
ARTISTS: Gilbert Hernandez; Jaime Hernandez
EDITOR: Eric Reynolds – @earinc
COVER: Jaime Hernandez
BACK COVER: Gilbert Hernandez
VARIANT COVER: Gilbert Hernandez
36pp, B&W, $4.99 U.S. (July 2017)

Love and Rockets is the seminal alternative comic book series produced by brothers, Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez.  It has been published since 1982 by Fantagraphics Books, where it started out as a magazine-sized comic book that ran for 50 issues (1983 to 1996).  It later returned for a 20-issue run as a standard-sized comic book, (Vol II, 2001-2007), and then, it became an annual graphic novel series which ran for eight volumes, Love and Rockets: New Stories (Vol. III, 2008-2016).  [It is important to note that Gilbert and Jaime do not collaborate, and that each brother has his own characters and stories.]

In late 2016, Love and Rockets Vol. IV returned the series to its comic magazine format that fans of the original series fell in love with and probably still love and prefer.  I prefer the original format, but I understand that for various reasons the creators and publishers felt the need to initiate format changes at different times.

Under a front cover by Jaime, Love and Rockets Vol. IV #3 offers nine stories and vignettes, five by Gilbert (Beto) and four by Jaime.  On the Jaime side of things, the “Locas” girls' punk reunion has come to an end, but Maggie and Hopey still have the evening to chew the fat and also some hard questions about the past, the present, and the future.  What is “punk”?  What did it all mean?  What does it mean now?  What will it mean in the end?  Plus, a trip back to 1979 returns us to the days of young punk Locas.  And in the classic, sci-fi, Xaime section, sisters Lumina and Isla reunite as the Anima situation turns more intense.

Gilbert reveals episodes of the Doctor Who ripoff, “Professor Enigma.”  Fritz starred as “Missy,” the Prof.'s assistant, but will soon see her 10-year-old daughter take over the roll.  Also, Fritz's newly reunited twin daughters, Baby (Remedios) and Rosario, meet their grandmother, who is a classic Palomar character!

Love and Rockets Vol. IV #3 is the weakest issue of the new series, thus far.  The return to 1979 is a killer section, and I could feel it and the power of young Locas characters dominate my imagination even as I read the rest of this issue.  The segment featuring modern day Maggie and Hopey feels like it is in a holding pattern, waiting for something big to happen.

The “Professor Enigma” segments lack the classic weirdness of Gilbert's best B.E.M. and sci-fi/B-movie stories, although the back cover crackles with weird energy.  Once again, it takes a classic, old-school L&R character to electrify this issue and Gilbert's contributions.

Even if Love and Rockets Vol. IV #3 is the least of the lot early in this new Love and Rockets run, this is still mostly good stuff.  Jaime's “Anima” art is glorious and beautiful, and the storytelling is invigorating.  I certainly wanted more.  And once again, I must emphasize that Gilbert's back cover art is imaginative and cool.

7.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2018 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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