Guzzi Lemans (#1 – 2) – Jim Lawson

4 out of 5

Jim Lawson and bikes. He loves to draw ’em, I love looking at his drawings of ’em, especially when they’re involved with dudes and dudettes flippin’ over post-apocalyptic runways and shooting at one another.

Note: I’m not a bike guy.

Guzzi Lemans is a character Jim had kicked around in small shorts and cameos here and there, given her chance to shine in an awesomely compressed 2-issue mini-series published by Antarctic Press. There are fun little world-building notes here and there – mutants, People’s Republic of China, some alterna-world lingo – but it’s done at a high level that’s not meant to distract, just give the series a base from which to work, which it does. Within two too-dang-short issues, Jim has us meet Guzzi, premiere automotive fixer-upper, who reluctantly takes a meeting with Dorn (nicknamed Shithead on Guzzi’s voice recognition system). Dorn is down with gangs; Guzzi isn’t, but their shared past convinces her to do a courier favor for her while he waits out some heat that’s been on him. See the aforementioned mutants and motorcylced folks shooting at one another: the meeting does not go well.

Jim gets surprisingly grim with things, but the tale isn’t admittedly that deep – it’s just fun with a character and a cool setting. There are some odd visual notes I can’t quite parse – Guzzi seems to ‘activate’ something on her belt at one point, and a panel curiously focuses on her catching a bullet casing because maybe it would scratch her car? – but these notes can also be said to fit into the world-building vibe: we’re just given a glance at this world. Otherwise, this is fantastic Lawson art and fun characters, and a skillfully compressed, fast-moving and satisfying story.