Ever since Sullivan’s Travels I’ve thought of hobos as a romantic notion; they’re a part of American culture no matter how brief the time might have been in our history (or maybe they still run the rails who knows). That makes this story from writer and artist Kyle Starks all the more important. If we don’t admit to our hobo heritage than what do we really have?
Writer & Artist: Kyle Starks
Color: Chris Schweizer
Publisher: Image Comics
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
“YOUNGBLOOD REBORN,” Part Two The ‘Blood is back, baby! But for how long? Shaft arrives in Baltimore with a warning for the team of rookie heroes calling themselves “Youngblood,” but will it fall on deaf ears? Meanwhile, President Die Hard meets with the architects of the popular Help! app and struggles with just how far he’s willing to go to protect the country. All this, plus Badrock keeping secrets? Seriously, Badrock…already? What the hell, dude, it’s only the second issue?
Why does this book matter?
Kyle Starks is a funny dude. Do you like to laugh? Well pick up the books he’s written. Hell, even last week his Rick and Morty comic was hilarious. This is an original series sprouted from his mind, which means more original funny than you can shake a hobo stick at!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Oh no not them!
Last issue had a hobo fight club–how do you top that–but dammit the devil that’s been chasing the protagonist finally catches up to him. There are a lot of satisfying reveals in this issue not least of which is the devil. There’s also some confirmation of real magic afoot in the series and in a lot of ways Starks opens up this world and makes it feel a lot less ordinary. The fantasy elements of the series create a sense of originality and cleverness that wins the reader over and makes this a must read. Yep, it’s the third issue, but it’s safe to say the premise of this show is just insane enough it’d be one hell of a cartoon or TV series.
That’s partly because there’s still a good sense of humor and more hobo world truths imparted. Opening with our heroes walking the rails, a few tramps show up that sour their mood. Starks quickly teaches us the difference between tramps and hobos and it’s not to pretty. It grounds the issue, so that when things go to hell (literally!) later it’s all the more shocking. The names these tramps are called are also quite hilarious.
The art might be the strongest of the series so far too. It’s safe to say whenever the devil shows up, with his ridiculous mustache and tiny horns, there is funny action on the page. In an excellent full page spread for instance, the devil looks all kinds of crazy in his slacks and boots as he flies above the corn fields to wallop our hero. In the next panel he comes crashing down, and Starks does a good job giving the scene energy with the flame and explosion rocking out of his fist.
Chris Schweizer’s colors add to this devil’s look with the obvious reds, but it’s the scenes before and after that really stand out from him. Leading to the devil’s entrance, the scenes are more subdued and earthy, which help ground the book and make it feel realistic. Then, after the devil shows up, there are dark blues and cooler tones that seem to suggest there’s still smoke from the fire of the devil’s entrance. It’s solid work that probably deserves a class in coloring.
Kinda mean no?
It can’t be perfect can it?
The Pomona character does feel rather weak at this juncture. Who he is, what his deal is, and why he’s even on this trip begs many questions. As the bystander that serves as the audience he works, but some answers must be given!
Is It Good?
Without a doubt this is the strongest issue of the series and it totally sells the series as a must read. This is a great mix of fantasy, realism, and good old fashioned name calling humor. Read it!