Beto gets one story this issue, Jaime gets three but really two. It’s an interesting three stories; two are Maggie (and Ray) stories, one is a Hopey story. The Maggie story is about, well, The Night Ape Sex Came Home to Play. Maggie, Daffy, and Kiko (how long has it been since Kiko has been in an issue–has Kiko ever been in an issue) are trying to get into a show with little success, then run into Joey and Tony. Who’ve been around for ages.
Joey (Hopey’s brother) has been holding onto Hopey’s letters for Maggie–which Hopey’s usually writing or avoiding writing in her stories–so Maggie wants to get those. Everyone also wants to go check out Ray and Doyle’s new apartment. Maggie doesn’t want to go because the Ray stuff is still unresolved.
It’s a fast, sometimes funny, character building four pages. Jaime does a lot with the supporting players–as well as some world building (there’s some acquaintance who knows Izzy)–and it leads perfectly into the second story, which is Hopey’s.
The band is finally breaking up. Terry has found a new band (so, after teasing it issues ago, Terry never did get around to seducing Hopey) while Monica and Zero are getting together and running off, leaving Hopey with a broken down car. It’s another four pager, with Hopey ending up buddies with Texas, who’s possibly a musician too (or wants to be) and also has nowhere to go and no money to get there. It’s beginning of a beautiful friendship. And, even though Hopey’s occasionally really nasty, it’s very nice to get to see her not playing second-fiddle to a band story. It’s been a while since she’s gotten to have so much personality.
Then comes Beto’s Palomar and it’s another fantastic installment of the serial killer story, Human Diastrophism. Turns out Luba’s verbally (and physically) abusive behavior to her oldest daughter is rubbing off, horrifically, on her youngest. Meanwhile Tonantzin’s still worrying Diana and Carmen (and, by extension, Heraclio and Pipo). Of course Pipo’s still fooling around with Khamo, Luba’s favorite toy boy. Beto introduces–it can’t be for the first time so I missed it–a mystery enabler for Tonantzin’s behavior; she can’t read the letters from her prison pen pal herself, so someone else is doing it.
Humberto the artist is posting his violent sketches–of the killing he saw–around town as he zonks more and more out, his eyes becoming saucers like the terrible monkeys.
Archie confronts Luba, tragically, over Khamo. Soon after Luba finds out about Pipo and Khamo and plans some kind of response (possibly violent but probably not really, Luba’s not actually terrible). Luba even tries–and fails–to bond with Maricela after hitting her in the last chapter. Meanwhile Maricela’s romance with her secret girlfriend is discovered.
There’s more serial killer victims, there’s some romance for Chelo, there’s a bunch of other stuff. Including some tourists who may have killed one of their friends and that body is either missing or in with the serial killer’s victims.
Speaking of the serial killer’s victims, the story ends on one heck of a cliffhanger involving one of them.
It’s a fantastic story. Beto keeps it moving, he keeps up the character development, humor, tragedy, all of it. Great stuff. And the perfect way for the issue to end.
Except it turns out Jaime’s not done. He’s got the second part to the first story, six pages this time, with Ray deciding he’s going to finally confront Maggie about liking her. On the way he meets Doyle’s weird stripper girlfriend and, after having thought he missed her, runs into Maggie. Jaime doesn’t really give us a Maggie and Ray scene, instead lets Daffy finish off the story, which is fine, she was there for the start.
It’s a neat pair of stories, separate but joined; there’s some great art in them, of course, but none of it seems very narratively ambitious. Jaime’s getting pieces into place, Hopey, Maggie, Ray. There’s nothing about Speedy being dead, which is–initially–very, very weird.
Jaime’s second part to the Locas story (or third, whatever) also means the issue doesn’t end on Beto’s quizzical and disturbing finish to Palomar.
As Beto becomes more stable in his storytelling, Jaime’s still exploring. Not the content but how to tell the stories. It’s interesting.