Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Daytripper #1 (of 10)

DC Comics/Vertigo, 2009, 22 pages, $ 2.99

Writers/artists: Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Sean Konot

The first extended mainstream collaboration of Brazilian brothers Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon is a beautifully illustrated hodgepodge of the most hoary old clichés imaginable.

It's a book you want to like, certainly. Its hero, a young gent named Brás de Oliva Domingos, is pretty and well-dressed, likes to sip espresso in the pretty streets of São Paulo with his pretty and well-dressed friends, is very good to his pretty and lovable dog and is sad when his pretty and well-dressed girlfriend with the perfectly symmetrical name Ana tells him on the phone that her flight back to him has been delayed.

Also, his terrible and gruesome regular job writing obituaries for the newspaper in a spacious office with plenty of time to go out and sip espressos is making Brás profoundly miserable, because he'd rather be a famous and renowned novelist. His unhappiness is compounded by the terror of his parents forgetting his 32nd birthday, which happens to coincide with a big gala event held in honor of his father, a famous and renowned novelist.

There is a supernatural twist, evidently, unless I'm misreading the framing sequence. I won't spoil it; let me just say its originality is such that only the accomplished groaner will do it justice. For an approximation of its effect, imagine one of those French dramas from the 1960s, about existential ennui, with werewolves coming in and ripping them all to bloody shreds in the last five minutes. (Werewolves all mine; no werewolves in Daytripper, alas.)

So, what this amounts to, ultimately, is a collection of musty old clichés—hey kids: a spoiled and self-important wannabe writer with father issues!—with a bog-standard Vertigo ending tacked on.

There are a couple of good scenes, to be fair, but if this first issue is any indication, Daytripper is the literary equivalent of a Coldplay song: airy, agreeable, vaguely wistful, somewhat pretentious and ultimately shallow. Luckily, the artwork does look great, and it's all very relaxing for the brain to stare at, anyway, so the creators will get nine more issues to convince me I'm wrong.

Grade: C-


Peter Bangs said...

Nice to see a review of any comic focusing on the story instead of the art.

Anonymous said...

It is really full of clichés. Moon and Bá can draw, but they can't write for a living.