The Worst Dudes (#1) – Aubrey Sitterson

2 out of 5

I tend to find it telling when comixology previews of a book don’t show their first pages. Now, to be fair, sometimes this is very much justified: maybe those first pages are good intros when you have more to flip through, but aren’t grabbing on their own; maybe there’s some shock or twist shown there that’s better experienced fresh; or maybe you can just get a better sense of the book’s vibe from interior pages instead. All that stuff’s viable, and I would surely encourage choosing whatever makes for the best preview.

However, sometimes… and maybe unfortunately this has been more my experience than not… whomever’s determining the previews just can’t find anything that really serves as a great representation, and so at least chooses some pages that express a semi-complete thought.

Now I am almost certainly over-estimating the efforts happening here. More likely: previews always use the first page, unless they feature verbiage like “holy goddamn shit jesus tittyfucking christ,” which is the case with The Worst Dudes’ very first speech bubble on page one. So then they kinda went to the start of the next scene, in which Detective Sam Sugar is dispatched to find the Queen’s stepdaughter, which sounds normal enough except the Queen’s husband is a storm cloud, and the stepdaughter was hanging out with her pop-star bandmate who’s a drug-abusing tiger who’s to be found on a comet-bound bar…

None of this is a red flag or anything, and surely falls within a nonsense realm of some other things I’ve enjoyed (God Hates Astronauts come to mind), nor is it by any means out of line for a comic advertising its egregiousness with its title and a “Warning!” on the cover. It’s more that the few isolated pages shown on the preview are the only pages of the book that really work in isolation – throughout The Worst Dudes, I otherwise felt like I was reading a plotless slew of curse words and in-yer-face behavior. I had to reread sections to know what the main character’s name was. I had to stare at pages several times to understand how the cues in Tony Gregori’s art connected to the script. I flipped back through to see if there was much justification for the specifics of the plot arrangement – why this detective? Why does the queen’s son have to go with him? Why do we care about the party-harding tiger after he’s imparted the next “find the daughter” clue? – for you see, the To Be Continued happens upon the ingestion of more drugs by said tiger.

I like Gregori’s fanciful, cartoonified art, especially in the neon color splash they’re given by Lovern Kindzierski, but, in general, there’s not enough focus between Sitterson’s setup, a constant slew of new characters and concepts, and the direction as guided by Gregori – I wasn’t sure what was being stressed in a lot of scenes, leading to my above confusions. Overall, I didn’t really know what I was reading, leading to a low attention-adherence rate for me, just a few pages in.

And maybe that’s all on me. Maybe I should have gone by the “This book contains… generally loathsome behavior” warning on the cover instead of the preview, and maybe that business that made me unable to get a sense of what I was digitally flipping through will work for those just happy to be on the ride. Sitterson and Gregori, whatever armchair criticisms I can make, are clearly having fun, and that can be infectious if you’re on the same wavelength.