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By Los Bros Hernandez
Published by Fantagraphics Books

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The first series of the Hernandez Brothers' Love and Rockets will always be remembered as part of the vanguard of alternative comics that swept out of the underground in the eighties. Inspired by the late 70s punk rock revolution, Jaimie and Beto Hernandez drew from personal experience, their ethnic heritage and artistic vision to present comics that are original and distinctive. Realistic, complex, subtle and authentic are frequently used to describe their exceptional work.

After ending the series with #50 a few years back, Jaime and Beto dabbled in various solo projects before deciding to bring back Love and Rockets with Volume II. Cynics will no doubt point to poor sales to the solo New Love, Penny Century, Luba and Maggie and Hopey (ostensibly spin-offs from Love and Rockets characters) as the drive behind this move, but seriously folks, if this revival of Love & Rockets serves to increase the profiles (and revenues) of these great creators, then more power to them!

Personally, it's always been Beto over Jaime for me. Beto's linework seems more genuine to me and his stories seldom fail to touch the heart. This continues to be the case here with "Julio's Day" - a heartfelt, wide-eyed child's tale that goes horribly wrong at the end. Beto manages in the space of 7 pages run the gamut of emotions from unbridled joy to desperate fear to painful regret - sheer storytelling genius.

Jaime's "Maggie" deals in the usual relationship schtick, which leaves me vaguely cold. I mean, it starts out interestingly enough as Maggie tries to grapple with the significance of "genre" comics in her life, but loses its focus towards the end. Part Two of "Me for the Unknown" by Mario and Beto is a mixed bag and Beto's "Erratic Stigmatic" is just weird.

Beto's outstanding contribution continues to make Love & Rocketsa worthy acquisition for anyone remotely interested in reality fiction.

-- Kevin Mathews

Also reviewed by Kevin Mathews this week:
Green Arrow #4

Read the other Big Bang reviews.

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