First off, John Lupo Avanti’s art is terrific. The author as well as the artist, he indicates in the forward that this book is meant to be satirical, and the art fulfills that function perfectly. Entirely black and white, except for transitional covers, it’s grossly exaggerated, funny, and occasionally horrifying while still executing the action sequences beautifully.
The story begins with a sort of parable about crows and squirrels. (No spoilers beyond the 1st page and half.) Both creatures want nuts. The crows are smarter, crueler, and can fly. This makes for a lot of dead squirrels. This dichotomy carries the book. The story is all about dueling pairs. These are represented by the hyper-caffeinated nightmare ideal of Northview and the dystopian urban wasteland of Lower Scabo. The first being run by a city council, a Sherriff, and more laws than people, and the second by the warlord leader of a motorcycle gang called The Cannibals. Like many stories about conflict, the protagonist, Alfredo, finds himself caught in between. After an encounter with The Cannibals, he decides to take action and in doing so pits the two sides against each other. It’s a story of the battle of gentrification. The Ghetto vs. the Suburbs. Chaos vs. Control. You know who wins.
The writing is extremely clever, though I found myself smiling wryly more often than laughing. Ultimately, the story reads more as allegory than dramatic fiction. I didn’t find myself rooting for one side or the other; truthfully, they’re both pretty bleak. Monster Myths, an apt title, is a demented love letter to a time and place that, in Avanti’s words, are now as distant as the sunken city of Atlantis. The characters are wild, the images visceral, and the book well worth reading.
You can preview the book and purchase a copy at www.comxcomics.com/MonsterMyths.