Rogues!: The Cleansing (#3 – 6) – El Torres

4 out of 5

At two issues longer than the previous arc, ‘The Cleansing’ is definitely a bit more scattered than our (re)introduction to the rogues Bram and The Weasel, but with the talented Diego Galindo handling artistic chores – less sexed up, but wonderful energy and personality to his work, striking the right balance between serious swordplay and goofy grinning antics – El Torres delivers another funny and entertaining storyline.  A guard has been hired to ‘cleanse’ the town of thieves and scoundrels, and after some double-dealings go awry, B & W are wrapped up with a troupe from the Thieves Guild who are to deliver a ‘message’ to the magistrate who’s hired the guard.  As with Rat Queens, a similar-in-tone book, it’s hard to tell at this point how seriously to take El Torres’ plottings – a women-in-prison issue (and Bram’s attempted break-ins to said prison) is a total distraction, only serving to add in some more humor and extend the plot, and stacked up next to the somewhat overcomplicated dealings that bring the guard to town, it’s unclear if we’re supposed to just be chuckling or committing any of these side characters and details to memory.  This doesn’t ruin the pacing, thankfully, but whereas issues #1 and 2 were pretty concise, existing inside of a story our duo are telling at a bar, ‘The Cleansing’ has a jumbled feel, as though the issues are culled from different times and just happen to tell the same story.  But I laughed several times, and the trusting relationship of our lead pair is still fully intact and keeping ‘Rogues!’ an immense joy to read.

The ‘Lumpur & Flea’ backup by Ivan Sarnago and Mario Larra is a confusing mash of T&A and anime and meta humor, but it’s similarly fun, and sticks with the Amigo vibe of just giving the book the feeling like all the creators are enjoying their work immensely.

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