Working for a trading company sure ain’t easy, but Lola will train and continue to write letters to her parents in a surprisingly compelling issue.
LIFE IN THE WASTELAND
Lola used to have a good thing, she had friends who worked at a carnival and celebrated her birthday, but life in the Wasteland ain’t easy and, in keeping with the comic’s wild west tone, Lola finds herself, at issue’s opening, training with the Wasteland Trading Company. Lola owes the Wasteland Trading Company a significant debt and so now she essentially belongs to them. Even though she knows almost nothing about the other women she shares servitude with Lola is more than ready to threaten any men who might think to cause them harm.
This undertone of contemporary feminism throughout a story so starkly inspired by the American old west – historically male dominant – is one of the most interesting things about Lola XOXO #3. This is probably indicative of writer Siya Oum’s own beliefs and principles, but it fits in so well with the narrative and Lola’s personality (the quiet, strong female archetype), that it never comes across to the reader as preachy.
The owner of the Wasteland Trading Company in Lola XOXO #3 sees a lot of promise in Lola and her physical combative capabilities which is certain to be a through line in upcoming issues. In contrast, Conrad (whom readers will recognize from the first and second issues), is focused on gathering together supplies for an offering to Edeth, a local mystique, to help get Lola back from the Wasteland Trading Company.
Lola XOXO #3 continues with a peek at the series namesake. Lola writes a letter back to her friends and family at the carnival and signs them – Lola xoxo. The theme of letter writing persists into a later scene and this allows Oum to both reveal things about Lola as our protagonist and provide her the means by which to connect with some of the more disparate characters who are also being held by the Wasteland Trading Company to work off their debts. Letter writing is not a new storytelling device, not even in comics, but when Oum reveals why Lola is doing it and her blind faith that some day they will find their way to these people she has never met is so genuinely sweet and sad that it no longer becomes trope-y, it is rather endearing.
Oum and her work on Lola XOXO #3 hits all the tropes that readers have come to expect from Aspen Comics and presents readers with a very likeable female lead who is certainly unique without falling into the Mary Sue trope so common in writing.
Siya Oum takes on creative responsibility for the art of Lola XOXO #3 and, much like the writing, she presents things that the readers are familiar with, but with just a little twist. Lola, because this is an Aspen comic, has a sizeable bust and teeny tiny clothes, but to her credit, Oum gives Lola a more conservative outfit about halfway through the issue. Bust aside, Lola is beautiful and lithe in the way comic book female tend to be and her elven features are what make her compelling to look at on the page.
Many of the men are equally striking throughout Lola XOXO #3 and the way that you can tell somebody is evil or shady is that they are slightly overweight, bald or sweat profusely. Even Conrad (who is probably twice Lola’s age), at the right angle could be mistaken for being 20-years-old.
A lot of the background and physical world-building aspects are blurred or looked over, though Oum’s characters are often so interesting to look at that it seems like a secondary concern. Lola XOXO #3 is a very pretty issue and it serves the story being told.
Lola XOXO #3 (and the rest of the series), is probably the best thing coming out of Aspen Comics right now and this issue is a good one. It’s an adventure story presented against a steam-punk cum American wild west background – doesn’t that sound interesting? Lola, of Lola XOXO #3, is fair and compelling and if you are looking to read a comic about an adventuress this would be a good issue to pick up.