Crush and Lobo is a series that started out strong and hasn’t let up. That’s thanks to some excellent character writing of Lobo’s daughter Crush, but also Amancay Nahuelpan’s expressive and detailed art style. This has the quality of a Triple-A superhero book and has the attitude that can go with these characters. In the third issue, Crush comes face to face with her dad, Lobo. There’s just one problem: he’s imprisoned and visiting hours are coming up.
This issue opens with a mantis humanoid coming clean about his familial issues. It’s group therapy and somehow Lobo is totally cool with it. Something is up, but before we can figure that out, the story zips along to Crush’s point of view. After a rather funny flashback (seriously, who picks these?!), Crush is meeting up with dear old dad.
This issue plays out like one good comedy bit complete with a surprise turn and plenty of big smiles from Lobo himself. It also sets up a whole new dynamic for Lobo and Crush while also imparting a bit of a connection, at least from Crush’s point of view. Mariko Tamaki writes strong dialogue that makes you believe what these characters are saying. The plotting of the issue is sharp, too. It’s always moving forward and comes with plenty of style.
A lot of that style can be attributed to Nahuelpan’s pencils, which are as sharp as ever. He adds to the superhero jail canon in a lot of ways, from the aliens in the scenes to space itself. There’s also clever layout design, like an above headshot of Lobo moving through a few rooms. There are also two exceptional double-page splashes that stretch out the moments at hand. One is Crush and Lobo talking face to face and the other is a fight between Crush and way too many enemies. The action is always big, splashy, and in your face. That style suits both characters well.
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain add a lot to every page like the grit and grime on the walls in the above preview page, or the little pieces of glass breaking away from a guard’s helmet. There’s some serious level of detailing going on in the colors well worth applause. Bonvillain consistently makes you want to go back and read the book again but only look at the colors and what kind of story they’re telling.
Letters by Ariana Maher are strong here too, with word balloons and text getting mixed up between aliens, robots, and our heroes. I highly recommend you read her interview in X-Men Monday this week to get a little more insight into her work.
Aside from the flashback, this issue is rather short on plot progression. It’s basically a ten-minute scene in a larger story. It accomplishes a lot in what it’s trying to do, but it does feel decompressed in what’s here.
Crush and Lobo #3 continues the series trend of being the sharpest looking superhero book on the stands with even more attitude. Both characters are intriguing in their own right, but Tamaki continues to flesh them out in interesting if subtle ways. Paired with Nahuelpan’s incredibly detailed line work and in-your-face action, it’s a match made in heaven.
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