Billy Declan and Elvis Chang are the two best worst cybernetic killing machines this side of the galaxy. What they lose in efficiency they make up for in foul language and style. Although it starts with a basic concept and is over the top throughout, Declan and Chang hits a lot of different notes. Issue #4 manages to be heartbreaking, action-packed, titillating, and funny all at different points. The writing in this issue is tight; Matt Yuan’s dialogue and shifting scenes manage to jump from note to note without losing a beat. More importantly, Issue #4, in particular, balances all of these different sections, so if you’re not a fan of one thread, it doesn’t pull you from the parts you do like. John Yuan’s art is on the more cartoony and exaggerated end of things, which won’t be for everyone, but I have to give props to John’s art this issue. The framing, shading, character expressions, and even the amount of detail he includes in different panels make these shifts in tone possible and delivered the coup de grace on the saddest scene of the issue.
For my part I’m still not a fan of the sexy, scantily clad assassin Jersey. Although she plays an important part here, her childlike nature combined with her flaunting her body and sexuality at every available moment simply isn’t for me. As usual, the Yuans deliver A-grade action throughout and manage to hit important plot points even while their characters are having the nuts and bolts kicked out of them. The black-and-white art combined with the fact that its mostly cyborgs fighting this time around makes this a fairly tame issue in the series, but without pulling punches on the action.
I’m sorry, Elvis, you may have done all of the hard work this issue, but Billy Dee got all of the best lines this time around. The mercenary’s quips against his ED-209-like walking tank opponent, the Hadrian, kept me laughing throughout. The entire scene is made all the more humorous by the fact the Hadrian speaks solely in bar codes that readers don’t understand, so we only get Billy’s rather limited comebacks. That’s not to say Elvis doesn’t get some sweet lines, too, such as, “Quit hittin’ it there. It hasn’t got any balls, you idiot!” but he’s pretty much playing off of Billy’s antics.
Although Billy Dee wins the funny award, Luisa and Victor still have my favorite characters prize. We’ve seen bits and pieces of Luisa’s life thus far, and Issue #4‘s flashback hit me particularly hard. This is that sad scene I mentioned above, and it’s an emotional gutpunch. It is a necessary one to understanding why Luisa and Victor are the way they are and what their lives were like before Billy Dee and Elvis came in and screwed them up even further.
For more information on Declan and Chang: Sweet F.A., check out their Facebook page.
PS: Don’t let the cover fool you. There is no puppetry this time around, the corpse kind or otherwise.
Five Lingua Francas of A– Kickin’ out of Five