Street Angel vs. Ninjatech – Jim Rugg, Brian Maruca

5 out of 5

I am reminded, with pill-popping teens, much ninja explodery and ass-kickery, many @!#$ swears, and plenty of punches to the face, that Street Angel may play at kid appeal, but it ain’t a kid’s comic. I mean, it’s not fine literature or anything, but Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca have pitched some madness that exists in a delightfully entertaining realm in which there are too few inhabitants: some kind of modern playground that apes 80s snotty-edged kid-fare like The Goonies, then injects it with the kind of nonsequitor humor that fuels stuff like Adult Swim. It’s batty. I have no idea how they continue to make it work so well, but they do.

In Street Angel vs. Ninjatech, Maruca is pushing that nonsequitor bit surprisingly far, chopping his story up into quick-cut beats that have Jesse taking revenge on the titular Ninjatech after being dosed with some of their nano-ninja technology by the nefarious Carl (who instantly realizes his mistake in attacking our Angel and quickly runs away from the ninja lifestyle): she sneaks into their office; she causes riots; she breaks stuff; she blows up stuff. Jim Rugg’s slapdash style executes this all perfectly, starting out with big splash pages of her mad runthrough of the building and then breaking into little panels to nail some of the beats.

Laugh out loud insanity, which is the norm, but a notable new frontier in scattered but completely digestible storytelling.