Review: Punk Mambo #1
New characters, new digs, same Punk attitude!
From writer Cullen Bunn and artist Adam Gorham comes this hilariously horrifying tale. Punk Mambo is a hard-living voodoo priestess who grew up in London, then relocated to Louisiana’s Bayou Country. Now, she’s a mystical mercenary for hire. In her first-ever solo series, Punk Mambo investigates a series of abductions in the New Orleans gutter punk scene, stumbling upon a deadlier mystery that takes her to the haunted shores of Haiti.
It would be easy to look at Punk Mambo as a riff on John Constantine, but aside from both characters being English (and likely both from London), and both are dabbers in the mystical and magical arts. While there are certainly similarities between the two, and comparisons are going to be made, Punk Mambo is far more than a Constantine knock off.
With Punk Mambo #1, Cullen Bunn gives the reader unfamiliar with the character all they need to know about the character through the course of the issue as he sets up story’s driving factor very early in the book. By doing this, the comic never quite gives you time to breath as you’re left reeling from one story beat to the next. But despite the amount of story condensed into a single issue, you never feel overwhelmed – and most importantly, new readers should feel very welcome.
You remember the comics you read as a kid where you always knew what was going on, even after missing a few issues (or starting a series at #124)? That’s the feeling you’ll get with Punk Mambo #1. You know the character has relationships and a backstory, that she’s got a rich history waiting to be revealed, but you don’t need to know everything before starting this series. It’s a first issue, and Cullen Bunn has made sure anybody can read it.
Adam Gorham‘s art feels perfectly suited to the character; there’s a rough edge or two, and at times the action in the panels can threaten to overwhelm the eyes (though it never does), which couldn’t make me happier. Even Mambo’s loa, a formerly Stay Puft Marshmallow like creature has taken on a more dangerous and edge visage. The scenes where Mambo is unleashing her abilities upon her enemies is gloriously chaotic, and almost too brief.
And yet there are moments of peace within the chaos. Moments where the beauty of the art stands unfettered and unencumbered by the character’s anger and bravado. The effect is disarming.
To borrow from the character’s name, like any great punk song the comic grabs you by the scruff of your neck and screams at you. It takes you on a journey through viscous cannibals, spirits and possession within the first third of the comic. It’s fast, it’s dirty and it’s fucking awesome.
Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Adam Gorham
Story: 8.9 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review