Man, I did not see this issue coming at all, and that’s okay because it goes in a direction that I didn’t expect. Not to get too in the weeds here, but Specs #4 closes out a compact and, at times, trippy tale in a great way. The relationship between Kenny and Ted remains the focus of the issue, and they each learn the truth about themselves and what they wish most for.
David M. Booher has delivered an excellent 4-issue story that at once has the relatability of outcast teens in a small town that fails to understand them, but with an infusion of the paranormal that, at times, has tinges of Stranger Things in its tone. There’s a realistic sensibility to the way the characters speak, which I feel is much more reflective of the era it’s set in, unlike the occasionally more stylized dialogue of teen movies/stories of the now. That’s not to say it’s dated in any way, as I feel like the themes of friendship, first (unrequited) love, not fitting in, and the escapism that the supernatural provides are all as relevant as they ever are. #StoriesMatter as queer representation and good representation of queer love and friendships are still quite the minority in the plethora of stories that are made available to us. While queerness has been hinted at through metaphors in many of the stories I enjoyed in my youth, it’s still nice to actually see a gay teenager represented in such a fantastic way.
Chris Shehan and Roman Stevens have been utterly impressive throughout this short run. Shehan’s linework is, at times, moody, at plenty of times sensitive, and once or twice, horrifying. It captures the vibe of the series so well, and Stevens’ colors take that already fantastic work and give it a boost to give us neon noir (Is that a thing?) feel. And throughout this series, Jim Campbell has translated Booher’s script to perfection, making Kenny’s thoughts feel so intimate while also giving us big moments.
Final thoughts: It’s always nice to see a story end on its own terms and not outstay its welcome. That being said, the last page does set us up for possibly more stories set in this universe. And I’d welcome that return.
Creative Team: David M. Booher, Chris Shehan (artist), Roman Stevens (colors), Jim Campbell (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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