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I knew that I was gonna have to check out Brian Buccellato’s Lowlifes #1 as soon as I read the first solicit. Check out the description:
“In the seedy Los Angeles underworld, lives intersect like freeway overpasses. When a crime boss’s poker game is robbed, three lowlifes- a bad cop, a drug addict, and a haunted thug attempt to stay one step ahead of the others as redemption or destruction is their only ticket out…”
I play poker! I’m not a cop or a drug addict, though I might be a thug if you ask certain people who’ve crossed paths with me. Either way, I dig stories like this compared to your ordinary, everyday superhero caper. I like the underworld — the grittier the better, so I was happy once I finally got my hands on this issue. Does it live up to the hype I built?
Well, does it?
Lowlifes #1 surprised me. I was expecting balls-out gangbusters right out of the gate. But instead of witnessing the poker game being robbed as described, we are treated to the story of Richard, the corrupt cop. I’ll skip past the preview pages that are up online that has him face to face with death and move on to two days prior to events that transpired in the car.
Richard is racing through the streets of Los Angeles on his motorcycle. He arrives at a place that is either a run-down hotel or a really busted set of apartments. There’s a sleazy gentleman getting in his car that Richard immediately goes after. A young lady calls for Richard from the second floor of the building that “she needs you,” which abruptly halts Richard from his foot chase. The sleazeball gets away in a florist van. We come to find out he stopped by to deliver flowers. We also come to find out that this cat has raped Denise, the woman Rirchard was coming to rescue.
The rest of the issue plays out with Richard and his partner, who is a bit freaky, discussing Richard’s options in dealing with the criminal. Options that include getting a man named Wendall involved. Wendall, I am guessing, is the mob boss mentioned in the title. Richard has a lot to deal with mentally as he deciphers what he can do about the present situation and then he crosses paths with the rapist once more…but what will he do now?
Is it good?
Yes, this issue is pretty damn good. Brian Buccellato does a fantastic job introducing Richard to the reader, although I am still scratching my head about who Denise might be. Richard calls her names like “baby“ and “babe,” but I’m thinking that if I’m a cop and some guy rapes my wife and continues to taunt her by bringing her flowers, I am killing the guy. Plain and simple. But he continues to contemplate dealing with the situation. I’m sure more will unfold as the story goes on, but it’s an interesting dilemma Buccellato puts on display.
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Another issue that Buccellato handles well is the subject of rape. It’s always uncomfortable to read about it, but it is not too graphic here and the artist, Alexis Sentenac, does a well enough job portraying the dark shadow that hangs over the topic. I wanted Richard to get revenge for Denise and a comic book that makes me feel something like that has certainly done its job in getting my attention. Sentenac does an outstanding job with the entire issue, from the fierce facial expressions to the complete tone of the book.
Overall this is a killer first issue and the robbery hasn’t even taken place! It’s a piece focused around a couple of characters who have been through some shit in their lives and are doing their best to deal with it. Lowlifes #1 is a an excellent start to a brutal crime story. I’m ready to meet the other characters and see Denise get her revenge!
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