REVIEW: ‘Dirtbag Rapture,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dirtbag Rapture #1 - But Why Tho

Oni Press brings us the first issue of Dirtbag Rapture, a new mini-series written by Christopher Sebela with art by Kendall Goode, Gab Contreras as colorist, and lettering by Jim Campbell. Described by the writer as “The Frighteners meets The Transporter,Dirtbag Rapture #1 explores the life of Kate Gracia, a young woman who has a unique talent: seeing ghosts. After dying and coming back to life, this stoner not only sees them just about everywhere she goes, but she temporarily houses them in a hotel she’s made on a different plane of existence. You know, until she can guide them to the next step in their transition by taking them wherever they want to spend eternity.

With a premise that instantly caught my eye, I do admit it does sounds like it was thought up in an online word randomizer or a really, really weird road trip. This comic’s take on the afterlife and who finds their way to our protagonist is as intriguing as it is hilarious with the different ghostly apparitions that pop up. Kate as a protagonist is a character that I want to know more about as a reader. She makes time for certain indulgences like smoking and drinking, and things happen on her time and only on her time. Written as a “stoner with a flexible moral” code, readers will come to see that she’s complicated. This left me intrigued and wanting to know her backstory and how she came to be this not-quite Ghostbuster and not quite Charon aka River Styx ferryman figure. I’m still cringing over when she abruptly cuts off someone who wants to make small talk on a plane in lieu to drink and sleep. I also snort laughed when she goes to collect payment from a still-living person who just may have been in a situation-ship after delivering the ghost that person was involved with using a technique I’d say was light blackmail.

The creative team responsible for the artwork here nailed it here. Goode’s art fleshes out this world that is not just inhabited by the living. There are some great visuals like a ghostly hand on an airplane window high in the sky, unattached its body, visible only to Kate because of her ability. There is a page near the end of the issue that made me almost drop the comic in my lap. Seeing how and where all the ghosts in the story pop up–in the streets, in nightclubs makes for great fun.  Gab Contreras adds magic to this book with the colors. Everything from how Kate’s two-toned hair looks in the different light of day or night to the not quite sepia-colored flashback pages of how Kate came to be is gorgeous to look at on the page.

Some of my favorite pages include the ones of Kate’s mindscape: the weird plane of existence where she’s created a hotel to house ghosts until she’s ready to get them into the great beyond. The colors are softer, the dead look more luminous and their worries on the page seem more pressing away from the chaos of the real world. Scenes where Kate is defending her self-made haven carry a bit more weight as she’s talking to a new ghost in her mindscape. The lettering adds to the overall look of the comic by making certain scenes carry more weight.

The ending leaves on a terrifying cliff-hanger (on different levels—if you know, you know) that has hooked me for the next issue. Take the seemingly irresponsible person who ends up being way more important in the grand scheme of things and throw in some commentary on moral obligation, responsibility, and the consequences of our life choices and you have Dirtbag Rapture #1. I feel some narrative strings being pulled that point to agency for not just Kate’s character but for others too. For comic book readers who enjoy aspects of the supernatural, mythology that explores the afterlife, and comics with a female lead, this first issue may very well be for you. Placing a gentle reminder that this comic features a character on panel engaging in some behavior that might be triggering to folks struggling with addiction and that should be considered if choosing to pick this up.

Dirtbag Rapture #1 begins a promising new mini-series that juggles ghost delivery, being at the crossroads of good and evil and the quest for agency. Featuring a premise that is as thought-provoking and ridiculous, the ending of this first issue leaves on a cliff-hanger (that may throw readers for a loop) that adds to the drama that gets turned up way past one hundred. This comic’s narrative digs into the afterlife with a female lead that you won’t soon forget

Dirtbag Rapture is available now wherever comics are sold.


Dirtbag Rapture #1
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TL;DR

Dirtbag Rapture #1 begins a promising new mini-series that juggles ghost delivery, being at the crossroads of good and evil and the quest for agency. Featuring a premise that is as thought-provoking and ridiculous, the ending of this first issue leaves on a cliff-hanger (that may throw readers for a loop) that adds to the drama that gets turned up way past one hundred. This comic’s narrative digs into the afterlife with a female lead that you won’t soon forget