Bad Luck Chuck – Lela Gwenn, Matthew Dow Smith, Kelly Fitzpatrick & Frank Cvetkovic (Dark Horse)

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Business on the ropes? A nice little insurance pay-out come in handy right now? Then how about an accident, a genuine accident, that is – guaranteed. Just call 555-1919. On the other end of the line will be Tashi Charlene Manchester. She has an office and everything offering Disaster On Demand. She’s more familiarly known as Bad Luck Chuck.

It’s a nice concept – a hero, anti-hero, protagonist, call her what you like, who carries with herself the curse of misfortune. Who sometimes by her very presence, sometimes by the judicious placement of fetishistic graffiti – horseshoe, rabbit’s foot, four-leaf clover, etc, because too much of a good thing, right? – can cause a wire to spark, a pipe to burst, a tyre to blow-out at 70 mph. She’s even been known – but only when pissed off – to entirely level a building.

Eight years this has been going on. Eight years and forty-something ‘incidents’ doggedly pursued by insurance investigator Ean Stirling. It’s only when Chuck is hired by a female crimelord to extricate her daughter and heiress from a religious cult that events conspire to bring she and Stirling closer in a way neither could have imagined. They become something of a team, in fact. With the heiress. And the nun. Yes, don’t forget the nun.

Writer Lela Gwenn and artist Matthew Dow Smith of HellboyStarman and X-Files fame – together with award-winning colourist Kelly Fitzpatrick and letterer Frank Cvetkovic – deliver a yarn that isn’t quite as entertaining as it could be but whose set-up and execution leaves an impression as a kind of light-hearted Jessica Jones. The first four issues of the original comic book mini-series that are collected herein reach a denouement clearly intended to open up the world to new adventures, though on whether the concept has the legs for that, this one-man jury remains out. Nonetheless, I recommend you give it a go and decide for yourself whether Bad Luck Chuck’s plan comes together.  Eh, what’s that you say? Wait until the end and you’ll see what I mean. Mike Wild

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