I finally get my Carmen issue. Only not really.
Carmen and Heraclio do get the cover, but the story ends up sticking more with him. It’s a slice of life bit, with Beto exploring their married day-to-day.
Before I forget–the giant statue head makes another appearance on the outskirts of town–it’s interesting how Beto is visually incorporating it without ever making it part of the story.
So Carmen is mad at Heraclio because he reads for pleasure and Carmen doesn’t. He had to teach her after all. Then Beto sticks with Heraclio and his work day, where he has a fetching female coworker who also reads for pleasure (and gives him a ride home). Then Heraclio defends Luba to Carmen in front of Tontazin, resulting in Carmen kicking Heraclio out. He gets drunk and ends up on Luba’s couch, with Beto going into their history.
It’s a good story and really sweet at times, but it’s still not the freaking Carmen story. Just one Carmen story. I don’t get it.
And then Jaime’s got a really serious Rena, Maggie, and Vicki story. Rena’s back to wrestling–so it’s the “newest” story in the Locas universe. Maggie is going to see her fight, Vicki’s also fighting that night. There’s a lot of history drug up by both fighters, with Maggie in the middle.
Then there’s backstory for Rena–revelatory backstory details, actually, which change her in Maggie’s estimation as well as the reader’s. Not so sure about that move. Jaime’s very confident, which is great–Izzy and Hopey appear in a cameo, so do Tontazin and Vincente from Palomar (Maggie guested in this issue’s story too–the crossovers are single panels, outside the story). It’s ambitious, it’s beautifully realized, it’s a little too much.
It’s a thirteen page story and it’s basically all just to do a reveal on Rena. It ends on the big reveal. It’s perfectly well-done, but mercenary. Jaime never lets loose. Rena and Maggie are too big to share a story in this way.
Then Beto’s got a great three and a half page “true story” wrestling strip. It’s fun and strange. Beto’s real life stories are always a little strange because they don’t fit with the Palomar tone.
And then Jaime finishes the book with a half page, eight panel strip about dinosaurs. Sitcom comic strip stuff. It’s fine. But it’s kind of unexpected. After the finished quality of both features, Los Bros end on a “fun filler” note. It’s good and it’s fine and all but then you remember that Rena story wasn’t as good as it should’ve been.
This issue–#16–might be the least interesting in the series so far. It’s still outstanding and expert, but it’s also within existing constraints. Beto and Jaime’s ambitions here are familiar ones. They accomplish them, but they’ve accomblished the same things before.