ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Short Order Crooks,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Short Order Crooks Volume 1 - But Why Tho

Short Order Crooks Volume 1 is published by Oni-Lion Forge Publishing, written by Christopher Sebela with art by George Kambadais, colors by Lesley Atlansky, and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. Rock has always been in trouble to one degree or another. With a trail of life’s failure following him like an omnipresent shadow, all the man wants to do now is run his taco-selling food truck in peace. But the Bardems own the food truck scene in Portland. When Rock finds himself unable to pay his monthly due to the crooks he finds himself soon working for them to get himself free of their debt. Hopefully. But when a surprise business partner turns up in his food truck one day, his life starts to take a turn for the better. Now if he can just keep himself from self-sabotaging it.

Short Order Crooks Volume 1 takes readers along as Rock stumbles, staggers, and swears his way through a series of misadventures. While Rock’s current terrible situation seems to be largely his fault, the gruff anti-social drunk is delivered by writer Sebela with just enough of a lovably foolish quality to him that even when the character makes some fairly stupid decisions, you find it hard to hold it against him too long. He typically means well, which is what allows him to work well with his new partner Harper.

Like Rock, Harper has problems of her own. But what she brings to Rock’s food truck soon ingratiates her enough with the gruff owner to find her a permanent place there. Sebela delivers the two personalities of the starring duo wonderfully. Watching the two learn to work together to help each other climb out of their personal holes in life instead of simply digging them deeper is a wonderful example of deep character writing and natural-feeling growth.

While the two stars of Short Order Crooks Volume 1 provide a solid main course to the book’s narrative, the rest of the meal is a little wanting. The overall story of how the duo claws their way out of their respective troubles is enjoyable, but never truly managed to engage my interest. The occasional moments of humor may bring a smile, but never a laugh, and the action moments never truly feel like there is a real threat to the characters, robbing those of any actual tension.

Just as the narrative itself lands solidly in the good range, so too does the art. Artist Kambadais delivers the story in a clear manner that helps to build up the personality of the book, but also fails to bring much weight to the narrative elements. The biggest success the art accomplishes is with a couple of creatively laid out double-page spreads. Utilized when a character is monologuing, these spreads are wonderfully laid out and help give some flair to what might otherwise be a bland information dump.

The colors by Atlansky never detract from the story’s presentation, but rarely bring much to it either. The color choices are all solid picks, as everything is given colors that feel right, the colors never really caught my eye in any significant way either.

Rounding out the presentation is the lettering. Otsmane-Elhaou delivers the story in a clear manner. Even when the paneling gets a bit intricate, Otsmane-Elhaou does a magnificent job guiding the reader along with the clearly laid out dialogue.

When all is said and done, Short Order Crooks Volume 1 delivers a solid, character-driven narrative, even if it never quite seems to land any particular element of its narrative outside its two protagonists. If you are looking for a fairly chill read about two people escaping from some bad decisions this book could be a worthwhile read.

Short Order Crooks Volume 1 is available October 20th wherever comics are sold.


Short Order Crooks Volume 1
3.5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Short Order Crooks Volume 1 delivers a solid, character-driven narrative, even if it never quite seems to land any particular element of its narrative outside its two protagonists. If you are looking for a fairly chill read about two people escaping from some bad decisions this book could be a worthwhile read.