So Penultiman has retired early to get in touch with his true self. Is retirement what he needed? Perhaps some time off was warranted, but Penultiman quickly becomes enamored with a motivational speaker. On top of that, Antepenultiman, Penultiman’s android sidekick, builds his own android sidekick in a bit of a Kaufmanesque rabbit hole.
It wouldn’t be AHOY without some powerful backups, and this month is no different. As AHOY takes long strides into becoming one of the most regular source of prose stories, this issue features three. The stories come by the way of John Ficarra, Kit Joseph and Kyle Owens with illustrations by Richard Williams, Joe Orsak and Rob Steen.
After the year that was 2020, this issue feels like a bit like noir detective slapping you across the face and yelling “get a hold of yourself.” Seeing Penultiman do barely a page of chores before reclining on his sofa with “empty calories” to watch endless self-help TV is uncomfortably relatable.
When it began, this series was an interesting take on the superhero character, but as life outside gets more challenging by the day it’s starting to become its own self-help comic. The book doesn’t beat readers over the head but instead presents a relatable scenario with unrealistic characters. People can learn how to appreciate what they have through a book like this. Tom Peyer and Alan Robinson are showing what comics can do with a simple premise.
Without spoilers, the issue has a great hook to keep readers on for the finale next month. It might be cheating to say so, considering the first three issues were last year, but Penultiman may be the standout series of the year so far.
AHOY being the company they are, the book comes with three prose pieces. Continuing on the “wait is this about me” theme of the main chapter, John Ficarra’s “A Life Well Lived” is a fantastic short story that really hits the reader in the gut. The other pieces are worthy of praise also with Owens’s “Winter Summers of Fall Springs” being very current.
There’s really not much to complain about. This is a fantastic series, and on top of the stellar issue there are three (!) prose backups. It’s issues like this that make you realize just what comics can accomplish and what they can be. In truth, it’s a little hard to go back to other $3.99 comics after reading a book by AHOY.
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