In the final issue of her first solo miniseries, Punk Mambo and Josef take the fight to Azaire and Uncle Gunnysack! It gets messy in the best way possible.
I genuinely loved that Punk didn’t so much learn a lesson as she learned to play to the strengths that are specific to her. John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, has a book called Anger Is An Energy. At its very core, taking the anger one feels toward the world and turning that into a force for positivity and rebellion is what punk is all about. It’s that energy that Punk Mambo carries with her throughout her travels and is what ultimately will always give her an edge.
This isn’t to say that Punk hasn’t grown as a character. To the contrary, this issue illustrates how she’s opened her mind in new ways. It allows her to stay true to herself in the ways that matter, showing the power that can come with an act of true rebellion.
Everyone throughout this miniseries has been coming down on Punk, telling her that her path is the wrong one, that she needs to abide by traditions and respect and embrace the old ways. This issue shows exactly why it’s important that Punk finds her own way and continues down it. It’s even punctuated with a few moments of genuine humor from Punk herself. A lot of the jokes in this miniseries have come from gallows humor or Punk being her usual poorly-adjusted self, telling people where they can stick their faith and platitudes. To see her at ease with herself and finding her own groove is so important to the future of this character.
It also doesn’t hurt that the issue shows us much of this character development during a wild battle scene. The fight that makes up the bulk of the issue is a spectacular light show of righteous aggression, which is beautifully illustrated by Adam Gorham. Punk completely cuts loose here in a way that even the over-the-top action and gory sequences of previous issues didn’t quite allow. The action sequences are bright and impressive, but the way in which she outsmarts her enemy feels like just as much of a character moment as it does a physical and heroic one.
It does feel like there’s a bit too quick of a wrap-up with some of our villains here, but if the issue’s closing moments are any indication, Punk has plenty more to do. Which is great to know, because this was one ride I didn’t want to get off of.
This miniseries has been an absolute delight. At nearly every step of the way, Punk Mambo has been as darkly sarcastic and occasionally disgusting as its title character and has succeeded in taking recognizable tropes of urban fantasy and turning them on their heads, bringing forth new horrors and fun character beats. I hope this isn’t the last time Punk Mambo headlines her own book.