Gasolina is a monthly comic book published by Image Comics and written by Sean Mackiewicz, illustrated by Niko Walter, colored by Mat Lopes and lettered by Rus Wooton. Gasolina #14 is a story involving drug cartels, conquistadors, an infection by alien ‘bugs’ and demons.
If you’re unfamiliar with the basic plots of old pulp magazines that used to throw in everything but the kitchen sink, this style of storytelling may be weird. Gasolina #14 is the old pulp style updated with modern language, more drug use, and present-day situations.
We begin in a nail shop full of mani-pedis and automatic weapons. The setting is a war between forces in different nations, Mexican and European, over secrecy and demons and fought by cartels. On the ground, a traveling band of people are on the hunt for the alien “bugs”, giving the reader a dose of the personal lives of average humans contending with the absolute strangeness and horror in their lives. There is also some juxtaposition between events in the past and the present, adding layers of intrigue and terror to the tale.
This series carries with it several characters stretched across centuries. While the majority of them are in the 21st Century there are some situated during what seems to be the 16th Century, specifically during the Spanish conquest of the New World. The present-day setting offers up many characters contending with very bad situations, and I found one likable off the bat, and this time seems to represent the main focal point of the story.
This is a dark world made up of survivors, from the struggling and afraid to the well off and vicious, with monsters lurking behind them. A caravan of people, each dealing with their own baggage, are watching out for the bug infestation. At the opposite end of the spectrum is a cartel, rich, seemingly in the know about what is really going on and well-positioned to handle the demonic plague.
Gasolina is a fiery cocktail. The sketchy art, subtle coloring, and solid letters gave the entire issue a somber look. The art is straightforward, not to detailed nor too lean in its presentation. As for the writing, it flowed at a steady rate, avoided being too overdone.
For me, it was an immediate recall to the days of the pulps, as I’m a big fan of those stories. Now, the back and forth way of telling the story, past to present, jumping to various characters, might not appeal to some readers. For this issue, I liked it. I would have loved it, but I felt this issue might have tried to showcase one story too many. Maybe if it focused more on one or two I would have acquired a better sense of what was going on, as opposed to four or five.
It’s a grim tale, and Makiewicz has done his homework in how a pulp story should look and feel. Kudos to him and the artists involved. I’d recommend for the fan looking for something beyond traditional superhero comics, those into crime dramas and history and stories with multiple arcs and settings.
There are plenty of secrets and enigmas brewing in this series to fixate upon as well.
Gasolina is a fiery cocktail. The sketchy art, subtle coloring, and solid letters gave the entire issue a somber look.
William J. Jackson is a small town laddie who self publishes books of punk genres, Victorian Age superheroes, rocket ships, and human turmoil. He loves him some comic books, Nature, Star Trek, and the fine art of the introvert.