Now, it’s war.  Your Major Spoilers review of Gasolina #11 awaits!

GASOLINA #11

Writer: Sean Mackiewicz
Artist: Niko Walter
Colorist: Mat Lopes
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Arielle Basich
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 22, 2018

Previously in Gasolina: A stunning cartel assassin makes a bold move against Los Queridos, and Randy’s trapped in a town with a horrible secret – and Amalia’s nowhere to be found.

DARK AND BRUTAL

This issue opens with the introduction of Jovany (in a shower scene, no less), his partners in life and in crime, including Instagramming his morning as he prepares to set off a gang war.  It’s a really impressive sequence, followed by a wave of swift and blinding violence.  Elsewhere, a woman named Amalia takes a break from teaching a young girl to participate in the torture of a crime lord who has already been beaten and had many of his teeth removed.  He laughs that he has more, that they were all gold anyway, leading her to knock him the hell out.  Elsewhere, a man named Randy is examining strange, lamprey-like monsters that seemingly are used to control the soldiers of Los Queridos, only to end up in the middle of a firefight… with Jovany, who greets him as an old friend.  The issue ends with Amalia unaware that she’s being stalked by men with knives who clearly are about to murder her to death…

MOSTLY IN A GOOD WAY

When I picked up this comic, I had no idea what it was or what to expect, but I have to say: I am impressed.  The opening sequence alone is pretty phenomenal, starting out as a quiet slice-of-life story before escalating quickly into something intense and violent.  The multiple narrative strands are handled really well, although this issue shares the “ending in mid-sentence” syndrome that makes reading ‘The Walking Dead’ in monthly installments so maddening.  Indeed, there are a lot of parallels to TWD in story and art here, especially in Niko Walter’s art.  It’s very focused, very gritty and very realistic stuff, and even the carnage feels grounded in reality.  The muted coloring elevates the art even more, giving it a Southwestern palatte that is pleasing to the eye while maintaining the real world philosophy, with Jovany’s oh-so-orange shirt standing out and thus making him stand out.  I appreciate how strong the character designs are, as well, as I’ve never read this book before, but I was quickly able to tell the difference between any and all characters (which is tricky, given Jovany’s two wives in the opening.)

BOTTOM LINE: NOT THE BEST PLACE TO START, THOUGH

The big downside of this comic book is that we start and end in mid-scene, meaning that people who read #10 will be more able to jump right into this issue.  Even so, Gasolina #11 drew me in and held my attention, giving me a rich world full of characters that I think I want to know more about, a little bit of brutality for the ‘Westworld’ fan in me, a little bit of drama and a cliffhanger that works more than it doesn’t, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m not sure I am quite ready to rush out and grab #1-10, but I’m definitely keeping my eyes peeled for #12 in a few weeks.

[taq_review]

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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