Two crooked cops who have lost all their money on illegal battlebot betting rings. A health nut organized crime boss who drinks Kombucha and is the perfect family man. The most feared officer in the entire Los Angeles police force who is a dog named Pretzels. These are just a few elements of Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber’s comic book, The Fix. Think it can’t get crazier? It can. Read on for your Major Spoilers review!
Previously in The Fix: Roy and Mac are two idiot losers who owe a mob boss tons of money, rob nursing homes and are pretty much horrible people all around. They’re also Los Angeles police officers. After their last attempts at making (and keeping) money failed (they lost it on betting against Jizzmotron in the robot battle), they now must smuggle something out of LAX. The only problem is Pretzels the dog is the best and most incorruptible cop around.
I SHOULD FEEL WORSE ABOUT LAUGHING
Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber are the two upstanding gentlemen who brought us The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. If you haven’t read that series do so, it’s amazing. I’ll wait. Back? It was awesome right? The Fix is very much the adult version of “Foes” minus the superheroes. It’s a story about horrible people, criminals, who do some awful things but manage to mess everything up at every turn that it becomes a blast to read. Spencer makes it seem effortless to write a story this funny and make you want to read a comic about these kind of people.
Issue one was so good I knew it was going to be hard to top, and while I didn’t find this issue as good as the first, it is still amazing and an extremely fun read. In order to smuggle whatever it is Josh (the boss) wants them to, they have to get past Pretzels. Luckily Roy has a plan. Unfortunately for Mac, it involves getting his hand shot so he can transfer to the K-9 unit. Before the shooting, there is a lovely montage of the pair hanging out, going to a theme park, visiting the zoo and checking out the Hollywood Walk of Fame among other things. Of course they say it happened during a chase that involved a helicopter, a bus full of hot nuns and saving countless lives. I don’t know where Nick Spencer comes up with these ideas and characters, but it makes you wonder. The issue continues to have a twisted sense of humor and I sometimes thought I should feel bad about laughing. Luckily, things are so absurd and we pretty much know that Roy and Mac will get their due that it isn’t a deterrent. I suppose one should feel bad about laughing when Roy solves an uncrackable case by framing the man who helped him out on it. A man who also fixes abandoned cars and gives the proceeds to a charity for deaf and blind kids. But it’s comics, and Spencer knows just how far to push the line without going over it (plus Roy makes a convincing argument for doing it). Roy’s narration helps give the book a distinct voice and is a great way to get inside the mind of an idiot. If I have any gripes it’s that the issue doesn’t up the ante as much. Issue one kept getting funnier and more outlandish with every page while this one maintains a steady tone. Fortunately, it’s a damn terrific read so I barely noticed.
IT’S ALL IN THE FACE
Steve Lieber’s biggest strength is his keen ability to convey emotions and humor in character’s facial expressions. The design of Pete (the cop Roy frames) is so well done you immediately understand the kind of innocent person he is. It makes it harder when you’re later laughing your a$$ off at his arrest. Lieber’s art has improved an insane amount since I first saw his work on Superior Foes. I remember not liking it as much during that run’s initial issues but The Fix has him in fine form. He is drawing more details, such as the patterns on a woman’s dress and more background objects that I feel wouldn’t have been present previously. Still, it isn’t a heavily detailed style and there are sections that look odd to me. It’s not necessarily the art being “bad”, rather the style not appealing to my tastes as much. Coloring is strong with some cool effects in areas. Flashbacks are in sepia tone which is a brilliant touch and when Roy appears on TV the panel has a blue haze with horizontal lines, much like you’d see on a TV screen or monitor. There’s way more here to like than dislike and will mainly come down to the reader’s feelings on Lieber’s style.
BOTTOM LINE: HAVING FUN ROOTING FOR (AND AGAINST) THE BAD GUYS
Lately, it seems like a popular trend in fiction, be it television or books, to have your antagonist playing the “hero”. Shows like Breaking Bad have you feeling like you’re rooting for the bad guys to win. Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber’s The Fix takes that idea and has fun with it. While you may find yourself giggling at and possibly rooting for the bad guys to win, you also can’t wait to see how it will blow up in their face. This is a hilarious book with some insane ideas and while this issue didn’t up the ante as much as the first, it’s totally worth buying. And don’t feel bad if you find yourself laughing. It’s all in good fun.