Week in and week out, I fill my comic bag with books that I hope will leave an impression on me for months, if not years, to come. I pick and choose the books with the characters that I love, and I hope theyíll do their best, and sometimes their worst, to each and every one of my emotions. Since the first issue of Laphamís Young Liars, I have not been let down a single time. Here we are four issues into the fresh, original series and David Lapham shows no signs of slowing down or pulling his punches.
You wanna know what Young Liars is like? Well, Young Liars is like a shotgun blast of sex, drugs, violence and rock & roll -- straight to the face. Absolutely relentless, each issue feels like Lapham is aiming to top his previous effort.
The fourth issue details the five friends as they set sail, literally, on their quest to evade their hunters and find the painting that will make them stinky, filthy rich. What better place to compare the youths of our main characters than that of a cruise ship for the elderly. Ceecee, Donnie (heís the transvestite), Runco and Annie all struggle with their age in this screwed up world, while Danny and Sadie have sex and water ski. We learn more about Dannyís obsession with Sadie as she stands in contrast with the rest of the group. While the others struggle with feeling old, Sadie is trying to live the life of a reckless child.
Each page and each moment of dialogue makes these people seem more and more degenerate and downright psychotic. Itís evident thatís what Lapham is striving for here, but for those that canít take those kinds of characters, itís time to clear the Hell out. Lapham is unforgiving in his direction and narrative, so prepare to be shocked with this book. This single issue doesnít come teeming with those jaw dropping moments found in the first three, however. It is, nonetheless, a necessary stepping stone for further hijinx, and it wonít come off at all boring.
As for the art, well, Lapham pencils and inks the whole thing. His work is precise and detailed from panel to panel. But when it needs to be gritty and disgusting, well, Lapham delivers. The sweat on the characters, the shape of their environment and the looks on their faces all will make you shift awkwardly. And the more and more time I spend with the series, the more and more I like the dull coloring. It succeeds in forcing your attention on the writing and the moments of surrealism. It just works.
While the happenings of the issue do little to progress the plot of the book, we do learn more about each of the characters Lapham has given us to soak in. If youíve enjoyed the first three issues of the series, then youíll like this one as well. But I would never recommend this as a starting point for new readers. Itís still pretty early on for this one, so if youíre interested in something fresh and powerful, pick up Young Liars in its entirety.
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