Local #4

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
In a truck stop outside of Missoula, Montana, a confrontation between two estranged brothers reaches a very dark and inevitable conclusion.

This is one hell of a depressing story. Readers see the results of a truly dysfunctional relationship between two brothers. One is happy but an under-achiever, content to have a happy life where he doesn't strive to do well. The other is his opposite: hard-driving, obsessed with living a classic middle-class suburban American life. As the hard-driving brother states, "Life isn't a joke! It's hard and you never f*ing get anywhere if you don't buckle down and apply yourself and work hard and - and - just be serious! I just don't get it. Dad just kicks back up there on his ranch and you drive a salt truck and Sara does whatever the hell she does and none of you ever get anywhere. I'm working my ass off to pay for new cars and braces for the girls and college funds and vacations in Hawaii... so why are you the ones laughing and having all the fun? Why is my wife leaving me and getting restraining orders? Why is everyone laughing at me behind my back? When is it my turn? When is all my hard work going to pay off?"

Yeah, the guy's a whiner, someone who is desperately unhappy and trying to take his anger out on his brother. We all know people as miserable as the over-achiever brother, and it's interesting and dramatic to see his breakdown in such explicit and thorough detail.

Brian Wood does a nice job of creating realistic lives for these two characters. Wood does a sterling job in 24 pages of creating a complex life for his characters, giving readers a feeling that these two men have had long lives of conflict with each other. Ryan Kelly's art is interesting as well. It's a bit reminiscent of Paul Pope's art, with its thick and sinewy line-work. Wood's energetic art brings a lot of energy to the comic. Kelly's biggest flaw is that his characters' faces and bodies are not quite as expressive as the story needs them to be.

I don't quite get the point of the first few pages of this story, where the one brother forces a girl to drive him to the truck stop. I gather the girl is the hook for this series, a unifying force for each story, but the story might have benefited from a tighter focus on its core story.

But this was an intriguing and thoughtful story. I have no idea if this is typical or not, but I definitely enjoyed my first trip in the world Wood has created.

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