Join us on our quest for ALL THE COMICS!
Last week I received an advance copy of the I Love Trouble trade paperback by Kel Symons and Mark Robinson. Felicia Castro, heroine/murderess of the trade, was one of my favorite women in comics last year, and I loved getting a chance to see the the story put together in a great trade.
The trade bundles together the six issues of I Love Trouble, with extra art and bonus sketches. The initial complain I had about the trade, is that it’s not printed on the same paper as the single issues. The issues were printed on paper that allowed Mark Robinson’s art and colors to erupt from the page. The glossier paper of the trade slightly diminishes the range of color used, but still allows Robinson’s art to shine. The art style to best describe the art style is Disney meets Ed Hardy – in the best possible way.
Felicia, the main character, bears the tragedy of a Disney heroine without the happy ending. As a grifter, con artist, and thief everything in her life has been done just so she can get back. This includes her boyfriend Johnny, who is described as and “Everyday asshole” that Felicia puts up with just to have somebody.
The discovery of teleportation powers during a plane crash doesn’t enrich Felicia’s life, only makes it more complicated. She is recruited by a mega-corporation as an assassin, which slowly begins to peel away the thin membrane of sanity she has held onto throughout her life.
I Love Trouble is ultimately a story about Felicia’s desire for escape, for freedom. The art style and frenetic panel placement mirror Felicia’s cluttered mind, while demonstrating controlled movement. Despite a few pages feeling busy, there is never a cluttered feeling to the trade. Similarly the colors of the book are stunning. Following Felicia’s mood and location, the pages switch off between light pages with warm brown and red hues to pages filled with dark blues and black.
In addition to the art, Symon’s writing and wit should be commended for the story. The entire comic reads as a fascinating character study into the broken mind of a young woman. The dialogue and story feel realistic, even when he is sneaking in references to other works of popular culture or writing dialogue for a figment of Felicia’s schizophrenia.
The individual issues of the trade flow together so well that a reader would be hard pressed to find the separation of the issuesThe only exception to this is with the introduction of I Love Trouble #6, where the artist changes from Mark Robinson to Nathan Stockman. The whole issue feels like a jarring departure from the previous issues at first, but the tone of the comic re-asserts itself quickly ending the run in a meaningful way.
The whole story is layered and unique. After reading through the series for the third or fourth time for this review, I noticed smaller details that greatly added to the story. The trade also gives the reader some new juicy tidbits to digest in the form of bonus art. The trade may be worth the money just for the single image of Felicia as a snarky Rosie the Riveter. Also, there are some fun fan questions in the back – a few from me were printed!
If you’re interested in story and character development over action and one-liners (although there are plenty of those), this is an excellent comic to pick up this week and definitely something to put on your must-read list.