Comic Review: I Love Trouble #1

I Love Trouble #1
Written by Kel Symons
Art by Mark Robinson
Colors by Paul Little
Letters by Pat Brosseau
Image Comics
Release Date: December 5, 2012
Cover Price: $2.99

The debut issue of Image’s new ongoing full color series I Love Trouble is a flashy non-stop thrill ride made up of enough intricate elements to catch long term attention. Writer Kel Symons‘ first foray into comicland comes by way of Hollywood and it shows. This book reads more like an action film with lots explosions, sound effects of the Rrrunk!, Boom!, Aaaahhhh!, Bam! variety, stylized violence, and sexy stuff.

New Orleans as a backdrop never fails to create intrigue either. Symons effectively creates a mini-urban universe populated with seedy underworld types like gangsters, thieves, prostitutes, and slackers. And at the heart of it all there is a booty-kicking, tattooed, bisexual, young grifter type by the name of Felicia Castro. Felicia is introduced fleeing from the mob (she apparently flees from all kinds of things quite often) when she is thrust into an even wackier situation where her would-be escape plane to the Midwest crashes inexplicably bestowing upon her the supernatural power of teleportation. As if that were not enough to make for an exciting plot with oodles of potential routes to explore, I am leaving out half of the event-laden plot.

What gives me pause with the writing however, is the character development of our main anti-heroine Felicia. She is a bit of a one note and that note is not entirely pleasant. When asked to follow the adventures of amoral folks who may engage in lots of negative activities, who are not supposed to be the actual villains of a piece, there is usually a reason (or hook) that makes us still love them. It left me flashing back to how Tank Girl caused lots of mayhem for mayhem’s sake but had a good heart, was fighting “the man” and wanted to keep her family together (chosen or otherwise) + she was laugh out loud funny. I personally thought that Felicia’s likable qualities amounted to being a super hottie and having fabulous hair, at least so far.

Making a habit of abandoning loved ones and being silly enough to steal $20K from the mob notwithstanding, it’s what she does or doesn’t do with her new-found powers that ultimately turned me off to the idea of rooting for her. She allows women and her boyfriend to be mistreated, and rather than procure the three bags of cash the mobsters initially request she pretty much submits to being under their thumb – even after they implied she will be their puppet-assassin thingy.

Lastly, I am aware this is a fantasy comic but two awkward plot holes surrounding the leading lady hurt my brain. Why would she steal priceless works of art and proceed to not pay off her debts, but instead slice them up to make a tacky high school-esque collage on her wall? Is it conceivable as well she conducts a full conversation with herself while plummeting from an airplane towards the earth? At first I thought perhaps this is an alternate reality? If so, I’m totally down, but I think it’s just supposed to be Missouri.

The artwork however, is more than enough to keep me coming back for a few more issues to see how these scenarios unfold. Mark Robinson (Storm, Skull Kill Krew, et al.) truly elevates the looser storyline with nuanced panels that jump from moody impressionistic street scenes with no dialogue to bright cartoonish action-filled sequences so over the top, they would have to be CGI if they were shot for film. That’s part of the beauty of comics that even the quirkiest scenes won’t cost millions of dollars or require a tech genius to pull them off.

Ladies in this comic are perhaps drawn in manner reminiscent of famous graffiti artist Fafi. Whether this homage is intentionally or not, it happens to play up the tough fantastical city vibe of the entire story so far. For comic art enthusiasts this title is a must have and to be fair about the writing , there was not a boring moment in 23 pages. Whether or not this series manages to make me care about the characters residing within those thrilling pages however, remains to be seen.

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