Both Jaime and Beto get a lot done this issue, but Jaime’s is a little more subtle. In his Locas, he addresses something more directly than usual– Maggie and Hopey as a couple–as well as introducing racism (against Hispanic Maggie) for the first time? For what seems to be the first time. Not only her getting insulted, but also some friction–with history–between her and Hopey over Hopey’s ability to “turn off [her] ‘ethnic’ half.” It’s a lot.
And it comes after a mostly fun story where Maggie and Hopey are at a party, hoping to bounce over to Penny’s. Penny, it turns out, is at the same party (though she doesn’t have any lines and it’s only implied Hopey talks to her). There’s a lot of character interplay as Maggie and Hopey make themselves unwelcome, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally. They’re now the “California girls,” something their new arty friends don’t much appreciate.
It’s good stuff, with a flashback–where Jaime gets in a really funny reveal–to the early days. Lots of personality in the art–Jaime draws literal dozens of characters–and some excellent walking around exteriors in the city at night. It’s going to be a multi-part story too, which may or may not address Hopey’s disinterest in returning home in the future.
Roy Cowboy makes an appearance on the title panel too.
Then it’s time for Poison River, which has Ofelia returning home–only for a page–an interlude before getting to Luba’s already crumbling marriage to Peter. Turns out his fetish for women’s stomachs is going to be his undoing, helped along by his former bandmate and friend, who wants into the drug trade.
It’s mostly Peter’s story, with Luba suffering through the bad marriage and odd situations the rest of time. She’s kind of got a subplot going as she’s worrying about Peter’s dad, who showed up last issue but doesn’t really figure in except to lay some groundwork. Poison River is a strange story–Beto has changed the course of said river quite a bit; it’s impossible to tell where he’s going to take it. The whole Luba origin story thing isn’t even important right now.
And then comes the… Love and Rockets installment. It’s a lot less serious than last time, as the cast works toward getting in place for the party next issue (presumably). There’s some intrigue and some drama–the skinheads are getting worse (or at least not going away), Maricela is fantasizing about the American high school girl with the eating disorder instead of Riri. It’s only six pages but somehow it’s a lot; Beto’s taken this weird, not fitting story and all of a sudden gotten a lot of mileage out of it.
So while all three installments are promising more to come–especially Beto’s–it’s a nice complete issue. Los Bros are generating momentum.
In some ways, the first and third stories–the Locas with arty farts and the Love and Rockets with teenage misfits–are the most impressive, just because Jaime and Beto are juggling so much at once. The Luba story has a bunch of characters, but they’re mostly disposable. In the first and third stories, you’ve got to keep track of all these (mostly new) characters.