Rogues! volume IV: Odd Parenthood (#1 – 5) – El Torres

4 out of 5

I love that El Torres’ sense of comedy can shine through the translation hiccups of his Amigo imprint.  And Odd Parenthood is very funny, maintaining its unique blend of bawdry and nonsense and out-of-the-box humor that keeps it from being classifiable as straight parody or babes-in-chainmail soft porn.  It’s also a welcome step back toward that tone, after Cold Ship’s attempts at adding some history to our leads Bram and The Weasel, which is really unnecessary overall, as Torres explorations of their foibles in Gerada develops their personalities just as well.

This time around Bram and Weasel get stuck protecting a royal baby, though they don’t know that last detail; they just know a kid winds up on their doorstep and then the next minute they’re getting attack by barbarians… and then golems… and then vampires… and so on.  Torres keeps the entertainment flowing simply by keeping the entertainment flowing: we do cut away to royal court intrigue which tells us why this kid is important and how it came to our rogues, but by structuring the story more around Bram and Weasel’s survival than keeping the plot details a secret, there’s no slowdown exposition that tries to justify what’s going on: we can just keep stumbling forward into hilarious battle after hilarious battle.  And yet again Torres has found a great art match with Nacho Tenorio and Sergio Mora on inks, with warm and rich colors from Veronica R. López: Tenorio’s pencils have an expressive looseness to them while maintaining a consistency with his figures and faces, and a grounded sense of space, thus making for the right blend of cartoonish and pulp that Rogues!’ tone exemplifies.

The same praise can’t be lumped on ‘The Sun of Trunza’ backup by writer Jos and artist M. Diaz; its artistic stiffness and focus on guys-ogling-boobs jokes is pretty much the kind of stuff Rogues! pretends to be but continually sidesteps.

But those are truly extra pages – you ain’t gettin’ stiffed on Odd Parenthood by their inclusion, so we won’t dock the series.