Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review - Mayday #1

"What they never show what happens next."

Not everyone is cut out for the pressure that comes with acting in Los Angeles. The area has a reputation for being chock full of big players, people wanting to be big players and former big players fighting to maintain that former lifestyle. It's nothing if not interesting, but rarely is it ever boring. That's especially true in Mayday #1 from Black Mask Comics. The issue is written by Curt Pires, illustrated by Chris Peterson and colored by Pete Toms.

A washed-up, drug-addicted screenwriter named Terrence Gattica and a transgender bartender named Kleio stumble onto a Satanic cult’s plan to sacrifice people all across LA (geomapped in the form of a pentagram, of course) and bring on armageddon. As our intrepid, damaged heroes embark on a suicide mission to stop the crazy cultists, even they wonder if this is all really happening or if they’re just plain crazy. Probably both.

For all its glitz and glamour, Hollywood has a seedier side that has a way of sucking some residents in through somewhat unbelievable circumstances. Pires captures this brilliantly in Mayday #1, as the events unfold in a way that proves the city is capable of devouring anyone with an addiction. The action throughout the issue is frenetic and ridiculous, seemingly out of a movie itself. Pires channels those misgivings of the city through Benicio Del Cocaine as a cult leader with a penchant for being on camera and practically embodies everything that's perceived to be wrong with the LA culture itself. The self-aggrandizing culture pits Benicio against Terrence in many ways, as both are washed-up to some degree and are reacting to the city as a character in much different ways.

Thoroughly accentuating the sheer craziness of LA are Peterson's illustrations. There's a detached quality to his linework that bounces between seemingly normal interactions and much more hallucinogenic experiences, taking the reader through Terrence's mindset as a front-seat passenger. Each page is packed with an array of panels, all of which keeps the reader's attention moving extremely fast across the page. Toms' coloring adds another means of altering the reader's perception, as the misadventures of the characters are highlighted in a vibrant mix of 80s neons and 90s grunge colors. The smashing together of the two furthers the presentation of LA as a city rife with egos and an almost uncanny lawlessness.

Mayday #1 is a pretty unapologetic take on the egos and denizens of LA. It capitalizes on the anything goes mentality that churns out stars and has-beens with an insane consistency, building around that premise a story about two such characters struggling to find some normalcy in a world that's anything but normal. Pires script is fast and pulls no punches, crashing through a day in the life with reckless abandon. Peterson's illustrations boast an appropriate level of pop culture credentials, buoyed by Toms seemingly erratic color choices that work really well for the book. Mayday #1 is definitely a book that provides a cautionary tale to anyone seeking out the fame and fortune that comes with the bright lights of Hollywood.

Mayday #1 is in stores now.


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