Tomorrow marks the release of issue two of John and Matt Yuan’s comic book series, Love Town, from the independent publisher 1First Comics. The brothers shared writing and art duties on this noir story set in Love Town, or Los Amores. While this noir story takes many cues from its 1940s cinematic counterpart, the Yuan brothers blend in paranormal elements that take the form of vampires, ghouls, and werewolves. It is a highly successful “mash-up” of genres.
Carrying forward the investigation of a high-profile death from issue one, police station drama heats up as Detective Saxon becomes a person of interest in the case. Lead detective Subs is the peacekeeper, yet he expects results from his investigators as they question five key witnesses currently in custody.
While Subs, Saxon, and Regan seek to discover the murderer, the Yuans unpack and explore themes of identity and the impact of the patriarchal hegemony that oppresses and devalues specific social classes. It leads readers to wonder not just who the killer is but in a town of humans and paranormal creatures, who are the real monsters? The subtext adds complexity to Love Town’s characters and the narrative as a whole, so it’s more than an entertaining story - it’s thought-provoking and relevant given today’s political climate.
The visuals continue to captivate this reviewer and as mentioned in past reviews – issue zero and issue one – Frank Miller’s Sin City comes to mind. There is a generous use of white border around each page’s panels which emphasizes both the power of black/white noir, as well as the abundant tension of the story. Special mention must be made about the cover of this issue. The collage cover with a scattering of photos exemplifies pivotal story moments and creates a cool and engaging overall image that stands out.
John and Matt Yuan have created an intelligent and riveting noir story incorporating the familiar black/white motifs and hard-boiled crime drama that will attract fans of the Yuans and the genre. The paranormal elements blend well and provide the brothers with the venue for analyzing important themes. Additionally, the visual experience adds to the enjoyment and is a feast for the eyes. If you cannot find Love Town at your local comic book retailer, definitely order the series. Digital and physical copies are available from 1First Comics’ website.
Creative Team: John Yuan and Matt Yuan (writers); John Yuan (artist); Matt Yuan (shading); Ken F. Levin (editor)
Publisher: 1First Comics
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