Monday, December 01, 2014

Magic Monday: Valiant's Punk Mambo

Magic Monday is going to be a blog feature that probably won't be as frequent as I want it to be, but it is what it is. In this feature I'll talk about new and old comics that deal with magical themes, whether horror, monsters, paranormal romance, spell casters or any other sort of magical features.

Punk Mambo is a one shot special from Valiant Comics that features a "punk" voodoo hougan, that apparently spun out of Valiant's Shadowman comic. I haven't kept up with Shadowman, so this issue is really all that I know about the character.

Written by Peter Milligan (Shade The Changing Man, Justice League Dark, Stormwatch, HellblazerEnigma and many, many other comics), with art by Robert Gill (Eternal Warrior, Armor Hunters: Harbinger and Grimm Fairy Tales: Alice In Wonderland), my first impression of the book was that it was the 90s again and I was reading one of the books from that early, wonderful burst of creativity that us Vertigo Comics. Punk Mambo could have easily been a Vertigo comic along side Shade or Animal Man or Swamp Thing. Peter Milligan writes an engaging story that doesn't need the character's previous appearances to explain it.

The art by Gill is evocative and draws you into the story, creating the character's world and breathing life into it. As good as the writing is, I don't think that this story would be as interesting without Gill's art. He makes you feel as if you are in a swamp and if you are in London, making each a vivid place and as unique as they should be.

While we don't really get an explanation of how a British punk ends up in the swamps of Louisiana, we do get a look at the character's voyage from Victoria, a rich kid in a private affluent to a gutterpunk on the streets of 70s London to her becoming the Voodooista Punk Mambo. I may not be the only one who saw a swipe at John Constantine in "Joe Mayhem," the punk voodoo guy who sets Victoria along her voodoo path.

Fans of magic and the supernatural in comics should enjoy this comic. The biggest "flaw" for me was the fact that by the time I reached the end of the 22 pages I was sad that this was not the first issue of an ongoing series. Spoiler alert: It should be!

I am glad to see that Valiant isn't just living in the past and spinning out past glories into new franchises. Creating new characters like this and expanding the corners of a vibrant and exciting comic universe means that the setting will not stagnant and we will see many more new stories and characters to come.