Dark Horse Comics 2019
Written by Lela Gwenn
Illustrated by Matthew Dow Smith
Coloured by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Lettered by Frank Cvetkovic
She'll need more than a rabbit's foot to get through this. Cursed at birth, Charlene ''Chuck'' Manchester hires out her own bad luck, providing disaster where someone else can profit. She can get you that insurance payout fortune—for a price. But bad luck doesn't always go as planned, and when Chuck gets stuck between a dissatisfied crime boss client , a cult leader, and a dogged insurance-fraud investigator, things get….explosive. Everything that could go wrong does—and only about half of it by accident.
I really wasn’t all that sure what to expect from this and the fact that she goes by Chuck is just sensational to me. To see names crossing boundaries like we are is fantastic and honestly it did have me fooled at first. Still I was intrigued by the fact that someone could have this bad luck ability and be smart enough to figure a way to cash in on it. Lela impressed the hell out of me with the story here and how it’s being told. This is my introduction to Lela and I will admit that if this arc continues to be this good then she’s won me over and made a full fledged fan out of me.
I like the way that this is structured. The opening is definitely interesting and grabs the attention mainly because it’s odd. Chuck walks us through the laundromat as w see something electrical go wrong and that starts a fire which burns it down. Okay so this does a great job of garnering interest and then it made me think, thinking is definitely something that I feel is essential to good storytelling. It causes the reader to go beyond what they see on the page and whether it’s trying to rationalise what happens around Chuck or what they would do in her situation it means that you’ve become invested in the book whether you realise it or not. Plus the way this story is layered with different avenues happening simultaneously makes me want to do a little jig.
I am a huge Matthew Dow Smith fan. I love his work and the way he has this wonderful set of hands from which he can create this amazing attention to detail using the varying weights of the linework. Right from the get-go we see the small attention to detail here in the laundromat and it’s not just the usual we see the directions on the machine here and it’s that authenticity that is what we want to see and sometimes take for granted. Later at the “Church” what we see is just as innovative and fresh as the opening it takes you there. The work stands on it’s own two feet so well we could follow the story without ever seeing a word.
The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show off an amazing eye for storytelling. Then there is the way that we see backgrounds being utilised makes me happy though I could be happier by seeing more. Seriously though it’s great and really does expand the story so incredibly well. I do like the colour work here as well. The way that light sources and shading are handled is extremely well done.
So while this is about Charlie and her finding a way to monetise this bad luck it is also a way to expand how we see death happen in the most peculiar of ways. Honestly it is almost like seeing those Final Destination films in the creative and imaginative way thing happen. I will say with the pacing is done, the story & plot development and characterisation make the characters come to life alongside this delightful interior artwork this is definitely my kind of dark humoured fun!