5 out of 5
Street Angel should be dumb by now. Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg’s karate-master, homeless, skating chick has had some loosely connected narratives, but otherwise they’ve just been plopping her into ninja-fightin’ scenarios and letting loose, and I’m not sure how that carried a whole graphic novel and yet it totally goddamn did. …Along with subsequent one-shot books, which I should feel annoyed by that they keep getting issued in over-sized hardcovers but I’m not because, again, they are goddamned fun.
What’s the secret?
Well, in part, it’s that the stories are, yeah, isolated, but our Street Angel doesn’t feel that way; we don’t feel reintroduced to her each time out, just as we felt immediately endeared to her super-real life in that first GN. Apply that same faith to the whole story – faith that readers don’t need to be handheld through the concept – and Maruca and Rugg are free to bounce between silly and oddly affecting, with fantastically buoyant, animated art from Rugg.
Add this FCBD to that pile o’ perfection, and add “awesome painter” to Rugg’s list o’ skills.
‘Dog’ is a straight-up hilarious bit about Angel rescuing a dog from some bullies, then inundating him – with a spiked collar – into her day-to-day regime. It’s montage stuff, but of the bust-a-gut laugh-out-loud variety; the visual and conversational gags are grand stuff. Yeah, we want her to keep the dog, but – spoiler – the ending is how it oughta be, and it works in that same tuff and sweet vein in which this title magically operates.