Page 45 Review by Stephen
Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi have got a whole lot of Kyle Baker going on in their exceptionally expressive forms and neon-bright, Miami night colours. There's a huge weight to the heads and hips as Sonny and Cheri cruise the throbbing boulevards, getting shit-faced and grin-faced after an absolutely wasted night in a hotel room and obliterated afternoon in a bar by South Beach.
Sonny is perpetually wasted throughout, in the past and present, even when handling explosives in a can on the can.
It's the sort of cartooning where thoughts fly round your head in the form of flags, butterflies, bees, burgers and broken hearts and an anthropomorphic pink bunny rabbit might bug you from behind your bleary, red-eyed, booze-bruised head as cops patrol disconcertingly close by. Kyle Baker, Kyle Baker, Kyle Baker!
Baker's even there in bomb-blasted Baghdad and the brutal raid by law-ignoring police-thief Robbin' Hood on a gangland crib many moons ago. The ghetto blaster's banging so loud that it's bouncing on the table-top as it's rocking up the room. They're not going to hear the murderous prick coming, especially after they've silenced Spidey, the look-out perched on the head-high fence reading a Spidey comic in his Spidey tee. Loved that!
There's one hell of a lot of noise achieved not by lettering but by line and colours just as Paul Peart-Smith did so masterfully at the Notting Hill Carnival in NELSON. As well as the sound there's the smell under the armpits and the sensation of smarting knees.
It's straight-up cartooning excellence (Kyle Baker, Kyle Baker!), Latour leaving Brunner and Renzi to deliver so much of what counts in the form of implication rather than explication, though as a reviewer I do love a comic that kicks off with the main protagonist announcing his name as you'd have to after receiving a call on a public phone booth. Makes my life much easier, cheers!
Right from the get-go it's for you to infer what you will from the map, the midday sun and its setting, or Sonny's mobile home decor (rifle, bong, gas mask!).
Apparently this was written a decade or so by the artist on SOUTHERN BASTARDS and co-writer of BLACK CLOUD, but it's exceedingly tight in construction. You watch where that gasoline can goes carefully, along with its cell-phone trigger.
Sonny and Reggie met in the army in Afghanistan and Iraq. There they discovered both the lucrative allure of opium and the unpredictable aspect of car boot bombs. Now Reggie has persuaded a reluctant Sonny to run another cross-country errand but before then Sonny's stopping off to see old flame Tina who's now working as a waitress at The Hideaway. So how does he end up with Cheri? It's a figurative car crash.
Reggie, meanwhile, is having a more literal collision, first with a telephone pole then with two cops, one of whom was once partnered with Robbin' Hood. His new partner's not one for the letter of the law, either - nor indeed its sentence, sub-section or full-blown statute. They want Sonny or, more accurately, they want Sonny to lead them further up the drug-running chain which leads everyone to Miami and vice.
Frantic climax as fortunes flash backwards and forwards in various factions' favours, and a particularly neat piece of choreography in a leap over a second-storey external hotel walkway.