COMICS REVIEW: "Punk Mambo" #1


"Come out, come out, wherever you are."

As an opening foray into the mystifying world of Haitian Voodoo, Cullen Bunn’s script for Issue One of “Punk Mambo” arguably proves itself to be an excellent start for the British magic-user’s first-ever solo series, by hurling its audience straight in at the deep end with a bout of pulse-pounding pugilism against a redneck tribe of lycanthrope-like cannibals. Indeed, such is the breathless, panting pace of its plot that many readers of this twenty-page periodical will doubtless find themselves halfway through the publication before they even know it.


Fortunately however, that doesn’t mean that the Eisner Award-nominee’s narrative is simply composed of one long fight scene, as the titular character’s encounter with Mama Grunch and her fearsomely-fanged babies contains so much more than an endless carousel of gratuitously-sketched panels populated with all manner of bodily eviscerations, mutilations, and disintegrations. Yet it is hard not to enjoy the black-humoured banter as Victoria Greaves-Trott and her large, pink-hued spectral blob, literally tear apart a pack of savagely feral killers who have foolishly abducted some of the priestess’s New Orleans-based acquaintances with the intention of eating them… and perhaps utilising a few of their boiled bones as innovative pieces of costume jewellery.


Interestingly, despite Mambo’s "hard-as-nails" bravado and evident super-natural ability to summon a lethally-sharp Reaper-blade out of thin air, the Cape Fear-born writer will doubtless still manage to "wrong-foot" the majority of onlookers during this entrails-extracting kerfuffle by suddenly ridding the Mohawk-sporting protagonist of one of her greatest assets just at the very finale of the fisticuffs. Ultimately, this shocking disappearance doesn’t detrimentally impact upon Punk’s spell-casting skills or the gore-spattered result of her battle with Grunch Road’s less desirable residents, but it does enthrallingly then lead into this comic’s more richly-penned second half, which quite wonderfully takes any perusing bibliophile by the hand so as to start exploring the heart of voodoo country.


Perhaps slightly less successful than Bunn’s storyline, is Adam Gorham’s artwork, which whilst initially packed with all the detailed dynamic energy one might expect from a freelancer currently confident enough to ask $500 for an original India ink on a 11" x 17' bristol [https://adamgorham.bigcartel.com/], still debatably appears a little too rushed and undisciplined in places; especially towards this book’s end when the Canadian pencils Mambo stalking the disconcertingly bare-looking streets of a supposedly densely-populated marketplace.

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