Sunday, July 22, 2018

MALL #1 Review

Writer: Don Handfield, James Haick
Artist: Rafael Loureiro Publisher: Scout Comics Release Date: July 25, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Reviewed by Wheezy

Going off the cover it looks like this would fall into saved by the bell meets the godfather, and to be honest it is not too far off that. It’s the 80’s (not sure when the 80’s became cool?), American suburbia where malls were abundant along with casual racism, sexual assault, angsty teenagers with parents that just don’t understand. Not sure if your expectations have been lowered but this reviewer was happy to find out.

The issue opens with the typical mafia gangsters (named Vinnie and Gino for good measure) in a disagreement, turns out Gino takes a bullet to the head execution-style in his car. The issue then progresses around to 3 teenagers who seemingly spend a fair bit of time in the mall. The cheerleader Lena, who seems uncomfortable being part of the clique, the working class Diego (that’s his name, look at the issue if you don’t believe me!) who would rather be dead than be seen working in the mall where all his school friends reside and the handsome jock Terry who is trying to better himself by switching teams in the hope of the gaining a scholarship.

Unfortunately, that’s where the saved by the bell comparison ends, and after that, it is all Godfather. After getting a snapshot of their home lives you start to sympathize with these characters, Lena has an abusive stepfather which she puts up with because of her mother, Terry appears to be working class along with Diego whose father thinks college is a bad idea. I have to admit this is portrayed quite well, in the sense that the darker aspects kind of creep up on you to the point of shocking you but after the fact. Turns out they all receive scholarships and are told to meet somewhere, we then realize what the beginning was all about, that the now deceased Gino, fathered them all and has left them all a shop in the mall.

After the initial outrage, the kids start to enjoy the idea of owning a shop in a prestigious mall, until one of the gangsters turn up looking for payment and wants a piece of Gino’s estate, this kicks off a sequence of events that ultimately lead to the Gangsters death and all the kids (teenagers? They are all kids to this reviewer now!) are now complicit, I am sensing the breakfast club already. I get that some of the dialogue may be exaggerated to hammer the point home about the 80’s but that doesn’t really detract from the story which I have to say I enjoyed, the concept seems like a good idea and its quite refreshing from an indie book that isn’t steeped in sci-fi/fantasy.

Bits and Pieces

I enjoyed this one, and if I see this on the shelf I may pick it up, I thought the premise is a decent idea along with some character work which makes the audience connect and more importantly, care about them, with some actual drama thrown in there. Set in the 80’s which is hot right now makes me feel a little nostalgic and it will probably hit further home for actual Americans who hang around at shopping centers. I will be listening to Madonna’s like a prayer while I eagerly await the next issue.


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