The most difficult thing about doing something on a regular basis is developing a rhythm. It’s not just a matter of making it work one time, but in finding that perfect mix and keeping it up on a regular basis. This has been the biggest issue with Dennis Culver’s Burnouts. This series has been sprinkled with some great moments but has been unable to sustain any consistency. Encouragingly, though, issue #3 was by far the best in the entire run. Can the Image Comics release keep it up?
One of the continual bright spots in Burnouts has been Culver’s writing. There may be alien invaders and possessed cows, but the cast are teenagers in high school. Culver doesn’t just know his cast — Burnouts #4 proves he knows how to write high school students. The issue’s running joke on how to find out if someone is possessed is exactly what a teenager would decide. There is also a moment in which Andy must decide between his new popular friends and his lifelong friend who may not be as cool. This is a scene played out in almost every high school movie because it’s one that everyone can relate to.
Burnouts #4 returns to its schoolyard setting — good thing, because these are the moments when the series is at its best. Culver is not only able to showcase his ability to write teenagers, he demonstrates he knows what it is they are dealing with. Little things like peer pressure, showing up late to class, and even getting a hall pass may seem unimportant or cliche, but they are all an essential part of the high school experience. Moments like these add the to the story of Burnouts and make it easier for the reader to get caught up in its crazy world.
Culver is also beginning to really lean into the silliness of the comic. Burnouts was never an ultra serious book to begin with, but at times it seemed as if it had trouble finding its voice. It sometimes felt like it was trying too hard to be goofy while at other times it seemed as if it was just going through the motions. Burnouts #4 continues where the last issue ended and provides the perfect amount of silliness, tension, and high school shenanigans.
The entirety of Burnouts #4 is seemingly centered around the mystery that began at the end of the previous issue. However, Culver does an excellent job of highlighting what the characters are going through and has the mystery hovering over every action. It adds an interesting bit of tension to a plot that normally does not have any. That being said, the ending is somewhat predictable.
GEOFFO’s art continues to add the comic. Burnouts looks exactly like a comic about stoners trying to save the world from alien invaders should look. Moreso than previous issues, Burnouts #4 has many panels that show character detail. Andy feels a variety of emotions during the issue that are shown in great detail. There are also some great panels that detail fast paced action.
Burnouts #4 seems to have proved that the series has found its voice. The issue is funny, realistic, and even tense. Burnouts does a great job of helping readers get away from the real world. It is a silly little comic that does a great job of having fun.