Page 45 Review by Stephen
"She just wants to help."
"I don't need any help! Okay?
"I carry my own load! No one has to help me!
"I help them!
"I'm the strongest person in the room! That's how it works!"
"Then why am I here?"
You'll find out precisely why Mike's in Sam's mind, and why he is specifically a mountain gorilla.
It involves a young boy in Iraq who was chained with steel braid to a big bundle of explosives, then left in an upstairs window to lure in someone just like Sergeant Samantha Locklear.
Terry Moore has made a career out of juxtaposing comedy and tragedy: not combing, but setting them off against each other so that the comedy comes as a blessed relief, yet the tragedy hits you hardest, when least expected.
Over and again he has succeeded to spectacular effect, better than anyone else in comics and especially during STRANGERS IN PARADISE and RACHEL RISING. Here, however, in MOTOR GIRL, the contrast is so extreme that you might fear for his failure.
The comedy is burlesque with an imaginary, sassy gorilla, comedy green aliens, a gum-flapping, four-foot powerhouse of an octogenarian called Libby, ridiculously inept henchmen Larry and Vic, a monstrously ruthless big-business weapons manufacturer and his comically trigger-happy mercenaries, all assembled in the American desert to do battle.
But it's not the first desert Samantha's survived, and the sequences in Iraq are halting and horrific, rendered without any of the cartoon galumphing exhibited by Walden's paid goons.
The stark contrast is bridged by the quiet solemnity of Sam's current, consequent medical condition when Libby goes silent and Sam and Mike finally begin to address each other seriously. And I found the sincere respect due to veterans so deftly done, for example paid here by a barman after yet another drunken altercation between Sam and Mike - or, to any observer, thin air.
"What's her problem?"
"Sam? She did three tours in Iraq. Captured, tortured, survived two bomb attacks."
"If she wants to come in here and yell at the back wall, I say yes ma'am, thank you for your service and would you like a beer for your 'friend'."
I don't have of the Iraqi pages to show you, but perhaps that's for the best: they should come out of the blue and blow you to bits. But even during its comedic confrontations MOTOR GIRL is more than just mouth and mania: it's about the little guys getting trampled on by the big boys with money and clout; about those under threat looking out for each other. Eh, it's also about slapstick, soap-sudded aliens in your bath.
"I know how the military works, Libby."
"I know you do. I'm just saying..."
"There's more to it than duty."
"Like caring what happens to people who can't defend themselves."