Street Angel #5 Review

Reviewer: Iain Burnside
Story Title: N/A

Written by: Jim Rugg & Brian Maruca
Publisher: Slave Labour Graphics

The story so far…

Many moons ago, our intrepid reviewing hero Iain was asked by his wonderful editor Chris Delloiacono to write a review of the fantabulous new series, MARVEL TEAM-UP #6. Iain, being the eager beaver that he is, would have liked nothing more than to do this but was thwarted in his attempts by the villain of our piece, the slow and plodding subscription service offered by Forbidden Planet International.

Denied the opportunity to even read said comic, Iain was devastated to be unable to write his review… and yet, miraculously, the world kept spinning and he wrote a rather pleasant review of CONCRETE: THE HUMAN DILEMMA #3 to boot. Lo and behold, this week he was asked by Chris to review SHAOLIN COWBOY #2. Since this book was not yet on his subscription, and since he has previously looked favourably at what Burlyman had to offer in the way of good comics, Iain went bounding – bounding, I say! – up to both of his Local Comics Stores to purchase said item. Neither of them had a copy. Gutted to have bounded all that way for nothing Iain returned home with his tail between his legs. Then he remembered that he didn’t actually have a tail but since he was also referring to himself in the third person for no adequate reason, he figured that metaphorical semantics were the least of his concerns.

Upon returning home, however, he was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a delivery from Forbidden Planet International! There, among the bountiful haul, was none other than MARVEL TEAM-UP #6 – just as it was prophesized would happen! Iain was so excited by this development that he went straight to bed and, upon waking, realised that he had managed to dislocate his shoulder. Again. For the second time this month. “I mean, come on!” he said, wearily. Realizing that there was no chance in hell he was going to attempt to edit a Roundtable with one hand, no matter how exciting the news about Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman movie nor how randomly absurd Jesse Baker and Jamie Hatton are being this time around, Iain told Chris he would in fact write a review of one of the comics that had turned up on his doorstep like a smelly Jehovah’s Witness instead.

Chris, perhaps fearing for his well-being at the hands of a heavily medicated and mentally unhinged Scotsman (who also has exams to study for, by the way), left it up to Iain to decide what one to review. Iain, though appreciative of the inherent shininess that Robert Kirkman has bestowed upon MARVEL TEAM-UP (including the most well-written non-Ultimate Spider-Man there has been in years), decided to keep his STREET ANGEL reviewing streak going regardless. After all, he has already reviewed all four previous issues and interviewed the quite lovely co-creators, Jim Rugg & Brian Maruca. Hell, he even gave Brian a Gmail invitation. At some point he may even stop stalling for time and start reviewing issue #5.

To do that, however, he will need some assistance to counter the effects of the caffeine and the pain killers. Last time this happened it was the MYSTIQUE #24 that suffered for it, despite roping in the sex machine that is Jamie Hatton to help out. This time, however, the hallowed halls of the MSN/AIM buddy lists are suspiciously empty. To this end, Iain’s good ol’ friend Winamp v2.91 to keep him company. Fuelled by a shuffle button and The World’s Largest MP3 Collection ©, there are sure to be some surprises ahead.

Now onwards…

The review…

Garbage – Queer

Wow, I haven’t heard this in a while. You know, I could never quite make up my mind whether or not Shirley Manson was attractive or not. She certainly had a great look, but was it pleasurable for the fuzzy department in addition to the visual department? Thankfully, STREET ANGEL doesn’t even need to worry about such matters. Yes, the lead character is a female but the book pays no heed to trying to market itself on cheap, tawdry sex appeal. No Frank Chos need apply here. For starters, Jesse “Street Angel” Sanchez is only 14 years old. Actually, never mind starters, that’s all you need to know for the fuzzy stuff. Otherwise we would be dealing with an entirely different and legally troubled book. Still, it is good to know that there are books out there with well-rounded female protagonists that have nothing to do with either Wonder Woman or Kitty Pryde. Kudos.

Weezer – American Gigolo

Do Weezer skateboard? They had a song about it, right? The one with that meaty bass riff… not this one, which is slightly less meaty. In fact, it’s probably tofu. Still, let’s have some unity for the skaters at the moment. Skater rock bands providing the soundtrack to a comic book review where the lead character is a kick-ass skater herself. In fact, she’s a kick-ass skater ninja to boot, as evidenced by a quite wonderful double-page spread in which she takes down a whole slew of baddies with her ninja tricks, her skateboard, a machine gun and a samurai sword. Awesome.

3 Doors Down – Kryptonite

Ha! Kryptonite? We don’t need no steenkin’ kryptonite! Screw dat! This book rocks and rolls to a far more relatable beat. Oh sure, it’s all very well and good to have some over-the-top, larger-than-life superheroes now and then. If we didn’t then this website would not exist and, quite probably, I would never have been born. Still, STREET ANGEL is the book that certain mainstream comic book publishers wish they were capable of. You know all of that praise people throw onto books like RUNAWAYS and TEEN TITANS about how they are the ones that are going to draw in a whole new generation of readers for a whole new generation of heroes? It’s crap, utter crap. Well, the books aren’t. They’re very good. But STREET ANGEL is just that much better. It goes up to 11.

WWE – You’re Gonna Pay (The Undertaker’s Theme)

F**k yeah, I loved this theme. Great for blasting through your headphones to strut around like a Bad Mother F**ker… even if the chorus does talk an awful lot about ass. Still, this song would be perfectly suited as entrance music to The Afrodisiac, a quite wonderful creation of the Rugg/Maruca team that follows up his appearance in PROJECT SUPERIOR by meeting Jesse here. The pair are holed up in an abandoned warehouse under siege from aforementioned baddies, reminiscing about Afrodisiac’s glory days in a glorious looking montage of panels taken straight from some old-school style comic books. It’s a neat trick that plays on the character’s obvious Luke Cage/Shaft roots.

Ryan Adams – She Wants To Play Hearts

Dammit, Ryan, I wasn’t finished talking ’bout the Afrodisiac yet! Ah well, I’m not in the mood for this depressing little tune anyway so I’ll just talk over it. See, the Afrodisiac that is currently holed up with young Jesse is an old, out-of-shape, bald version of the Bad Mother F**ker that was breaking hearts and kicking ass back in the day. There are no easy answers or eternal youth in this little slice of broken comic nirvana. There’s just life, and it sucks… but it’s still the only one you’ve got, so why not enjoy it anyway? Well, to that end, I would suggest you read STREET ANGEL.

The Eels – Susan’s House

I’m not sure that I have even heard this song before… Crazy, but then it is The World’s Largest MP3 Collection ©. You know what else is crazy? The continued brilliance of the double-cover gimmick Rugg uses on this title. As always, the front cover is gratuitously pink and indicative of the story inside (this time being as it is in the form of a ’70s blaxploitation movie poster). The back cover changes style from issue to issue and, this time around, it is in firmest, fondest manga style. You gotta give props to them here for varying their styles so much in the space of a single issue.

Pearl Jam – Throw Your Arms Around Me

A truly sinister, sexy little song this. Still, it’s cute as all hell, so we can forgive the dodgier aspects of the lyrics. Anyway, STREET ANGEL is filled with superfluous and nonsensical features too. Curiously, they all work – from the ongoing battles of Jesse and the Giant Squid on the cartoons on the inside front cover (this month they race… to the death!!! Well, presumably to the death… Otherwise what’s the point? Tsk, c’mon) to the Ninja Dojo lessons on the inside back cover (this month, make your own ninja throwing stars by origami!!!).

Evan Dando – The Same Thing

Evan’s still a great songwriter, you know. His last album, “Baby, I’m Bored”, was quite sublime. It wasn’t as sublime as this comic book, but then it’s quite difficult to cross-compare mediums like that. The bottom line is that you don’t want to miss out on both a good album and a great comic, do you? If the answer is ‘yes’ then you are obviously either far too sarcastic or too stupid to be persuaded otherwise. If the answer is ‘no’ then congratulations, you may live… I mean, you may be pleased to know that in June the good people at Slave Labour Graphics will be releasing a STREET ANGEL TPB, collecting the first five issues, the Free Comic Book Day 2004 short story, extra artwork, pin-ups, and a brand new story featuring the wonderful Jesse Sanchez! Don’t miss out!

Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles

Why the hell is this on my computer? Ahem. Anyway, I’m in searing pain and I’m quite peckish so it is time to put a halt to this review. I am sure that you are all quite glad, but not quite as glad as I am. I’d just like to take this time to apologise to Messrs. Rugg and Maruca for this atrocious review. If you take it as read that there is an inverse proportion of quality between this review and this comic then you should be convinced that the book is more than worth your while.

Peace.

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