Before I begin my review of the new issue of Love and Rockets, here are links to my reviews of L&R New Stories #1, #2, #3 (as part of a best of the year column) and #4 Anyone who's read these four issues knows that Jaime Hernandez just concluded a highly dramatic and emotional storyline about family, betrayals, trauma and finding one's center in the nick of time. Gilbert has been exploring his interesting in pulp storytelling as framed through his comics adaptations of the "films" that star long-running character Fritz. Along the way, he's slowly been exploring Killer, the daughter of Guadalupe and granddaughter of Luba and Heraclio, several more of his bedrock characters. For both artists, this issue represents a sort of retreat, retrenching and reseeding of storylines.
Let's start with Gilbert. After more or less leaving behind Palomar stories at the conclusion of volume 1 of Love and Rockets (with some flashback series such as his Ignatz line stories and the occasional very brief look-in as exceptions), it looks like Gilbert is returning to his old stomping grounds. However, there's a twist. It's not just that everyone's older, but rather that the story is being told through the innocent but not naive eyes of Killer, whose resemblance to Luba is not accidental. "Somewhere Outside the U.S. Border" reintroduces us to Chelo, the guardian and sheriff of Palomar, and Vicente, the scarred man whom Chelo watched over his entire life. "And here we go all over again", says Chelo, bemusedly remarking on Killer's potential to wreak havoc. "Proof That The Devil Loves You" is the central narrative for Beto in this issue, and it's a stunner. He combines his fascination with lurid pulp with Palomar to create perhaps the most meta story since Dan Clowes' story "Velvet Glove: The Movie".