When you sell your bad luck to the shady side of town, don’t be surprised if you become the target of the criminal world’s ire. Will Chuck make it out of it alive? Or will she roll snake eyes against the forces arrayed against her? Find out in our Major Spoilers review of Bad Luck Chuck #3!
Writer: Lela Gwenn
Artist: Matthew Dow Smith
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Frank Cvetkovic
Publisher: Dark Horse Comic
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 29th, 2019
Previously in Bad Luck Chuck: Charlene ‘Chuck’ Manchester isn’t simply unlucky – she’s bad luck personified. Somehow making it into adulthood, she has found a way to monetize her bad luck, providing an untraceable cause of destruction no insurance investigator can crack. But bad luck will do what bad luck will do, and Chuck finds herself targeted from multiple directions…
MISFORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD
In a recent episode of the Major Spoiler’s podcast, Matthew and Rodrigo made the valid point that any issue of a comic book run is someone’s first issue and that titles like Bad Luck Chuck #3 should allow a new reader to immediately jump in and understand what’s going on.
Which is true for Bad Luck Chuck #3 – but even if you did understand what has gone before, is this issue worth the hassle?
On the positive side, there’s a great deal going on in Bad Luck Chuck #3. Chuck is captured by the police in the aftermath of a chemical factory fire. Her friend Fayola makes a break from her mobster mother, and ends up in a Buddhist monastery. After Chuck is released, Papa Freedom shows up preaching the Word of the Lord and soon has a group of willing police officers in tow.
But given all that, what is Bad Luck Chuck #3 about? The story moves forward, but in such a laborious manner I’m not sure what was going to run out first – my luck or my patience. Chuck is far from an interesting character, and the supporting cast provides much the same level of engagement. Perhaps only Papa Freedom could save the day, but he’s introduced so late in the piece that by the time he makes his move, the issue has ended.
PAPA DON’T PREACH
If Lela Gwen’s writing is a little off-color, usually the artwork can save the day. Artist Matthew Dow Smith does a competent job throughout Bad Luck Chuck #3. There’s no danger the reader will mistake one character for another. Indeed, it’s great to see so many female characters carrying the bulk of the story. But along with the writing, a lot of the artwork feels pedestrian. We have scenes where no attempt has been made to fill in some background detail – characters just stand against a solid wall of color. We see Chuck in tears while scrawling good luck symbols on the walls of her cells, but like the writing, there’s nothing in the artwork that gives a sense of the pain she is feeling. Simply drawing tears doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid.
Bad Luck Chuck #3 carries along the inherent premise, and promise of the series. Chuck is an intriguing character, someone who has spent their entire life dealing with the ramifications of the bad luck that she personifies. Lela Gwenn has come up with an intriguing scenario, where Chuck uses her bad luck to earn a living from those who want to profit off insurance scams. And the issue really takes flight when Papa Freedom appears, spouting religious doggerel with such keen emphasis that it warps everything around him. This is probably where this issue needed to go deep into – the weirdness of Chuck that is inherent in her – bad luck follows wherever she goes, but we just don’t see enough of it here.
BOTTOM LINE: PROMISES MADE, BUT NOT QUITE DELIVERED
I admire the premise of Bad Luck Chuck #3. There’s a real feel that things are only just beginning to get started, what with the police investigation gone awry, the thwarted crime boss, Chuck’s insouciance to the chaos she causes, and the appearance of Papa Freedom to really screw things up. I suppose with the serial nature of comic book storytelling, momentum tends to get short shrift, and any collection of this series will allow future readers to blast right through to the next, more exciting installment. All up, my advice to readers of Bad Luck Chuck is, like its protagonist, hang in there; better times are coming.
Bad Luck Chuck #3
A great premise if somewhat iffy execution, Bad Luck Chuck #3 gives the reader a taste of what’s to come.