Review: Getting It Together #3
Sina Grace, Omar Spahi, Jenny D. Fine, and Mx. Struble continue to escalate the storyline, definitely balance the arc of an ensemble of characters, and generally continue to create that premium queer, slice of life goodness in Getting It Together #3. This issue is centered around a big set piece, which is protagonist Lauren’s band Nipslip opening for Wish Me Luxembourg. It also deals with the fallout of the friend breakup between Sam, who is Lauren’s ex, and Jack, who is Lauren’s brother and their various coping mechanisms. There’s lots of drama (and drug use), but there’s also visual flair and creativity from Fine and Struble while Grace and Spahi continue to give readers more insight into this cast of characters.
Grace, Spahi, Fine, and Struble goes into fun, daily webcomic mode to show how Lauren, Sam, and Jack deal with the loss of folks they confide in. Sam’s page is structured like a zine-meets-choose your own adventure that all ends up in him on the couch playing video games as a coping mechanism for his depression, which is explored by Sina Grace, Omar Spahi, and artist Erika Schnatz in this issue’s one page backup story. Jack’s coping mechanism is mindlessly swiping through Tinder, which is definitely relatable to me, especially during the isolation of the pandemic. Like he says in the captions, there really is something “self-soothing” to the swiping motion whether that’s on a dating app or something else like Tik Tok. Finally, Lauren’s coping mechanism is basically straight to business as Fine and Struble draw a series of text messages she has with her bandmate Annie, who made out with Sam last issue. This led to drama in both her personal and creative life, and tonight’s gig has a “now or never” feel as Nipslip’s performance will determine whether they continue as a band, or Lauren goes solo.
I definitely think it’s the latter as they round out the show with Lauren performing a solo song that he wrote years ago in a Sina Grace-drawn flashback. This combined with a full page of Wish Me Luxembourg’s frontwoman Mai talking about how such an inspiration Lauren was to her really is a bit too much too handle. Thankfully, Sam’s friend Tim is there with molly, and Jenny D. Fine and Mx. Struble turn in a drug trip that’s visually fun and also reveals a lot about the characters’ feelings for each other. In his mopey period, Jack has stumbled into a poly relationship with his ex and another man that on a surface seems like good, cuddly fun, but it actually makes him feel alone. Fine definitely shows this with her art with an earlier inset panel showing how uneasy Jack is at the show, and later on, she uses a liquid horror art style on the other two guys to show that this relationship isn’t a free “lots of love” poly situation, but more like a “succubi” situation as Sam and Tim call it.
Even though they barely interact and the gay world is a mystery to him, Sam still looks out for Jack by basically stage a drug-fueled intervention, and hopefully, they can patch things up in the end. Jack is definitely on the cusp of an epiphany by the final chaotically drawn and colored Fine and Struble page. Just like the drug trip sequences have a super charged energy, they heighten the connections and tension between characters in Getting It Together #3. The complete and utter Fleetwood Mac-esque sloppiness of Nipslip is definitely on display with Lauren making a pass at Mai and being high as hell. (Spahi and Grace’s dialogue for this sequence is hilarious.) Then, Mai ends up hooking with Ashton, who slept with Lauren in the first issue and basically kickstarted the plot of this comic when her boyfriend Sam got jealous even though they were in an open relationship. Jenny D. Fine and Mx. Struble’s art is messy and beautiful just like the connections between these talented and deeply flawed folks.
Getting It Together‘s main focus is on the friendship and emotions between Lauren, Jack, and Sam with some ongoing subplots like Nipslip, Jack’s bad taste in men, and Sam’s depression. However, in this issue, Sina Grace and Omar Spahi provide some insightful, non-judgmental, and at times, humorous commentary on the complex nature of poly relationships through the wisdom of drug dispensing, closet Jubilee cosplayer Tim. Even if you’re a “secondary partner”, you should never feel that way, and poly relationships should be beneficial for everyone. The deal that Jack has with his ex-boyfriend and his ex’s current partner isn’t that at all, and Grace, Spahi, and Fine illustrate this through his body language as well as Tim’s “tough love” speech at the end. I might be biased because we have similar taste in libations (vodka crans, Jameson, PBR), but he adds some wisdom, comedy, and loads of fun to the issue as well as playing the plot-necessary role of go-between for Sam and Jack.
Getting It Together #3 continues the dramatic escalation of the previous issues while providing insight into Lauren’s creative drive, Jack’s relationship issues, and Sam’s mental health. Sina Grace and Omar Spahi’s writing continues to be sharp as ever, and they hit that drama/comedy sweet spot. Jenny D. Fine and Mx. Struble continue to provide expressive, DIY style visuals while experimenting with layouts and finally descending into utter madness and fluidity during the drug trip sequence. Struble adds that extra bit of emotion to the musical performances in Getting It Together #3, which was a skill that they demonstrated in on their previous work with Grace on Lil Depressed Boy even if this book doesn’t have any AJJ or Childish Gambino cameos.
Story: Sina Grace and Omar Spahi
Art: Jenny D. Fine and Sina Grace
Colors: Mx. Struble Letters: Sean Konot
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review