I Love Trouble
by Kel Symons, Mark Robinson (Image, 2014)

This is one of those graphic novels that feels like a missed opportunity. The idea was interesting but never seemed to find fuller expression as the story unfolded. The lead, Felicia Castro, is hard to empathize with, and the thin plot involving gangsters and stolen art and assassinations is fairly average, as story vehicles go.

A runaway and professional criminal since the age of 16, 24-year-old Felicia is on the run from her former employer, the mob, when her plane explodes in mid-flight. It's the exact same moment that Felicia discovers her teleportation abilities. Faking her death, she runs back to her lover, Johnny, a fellow crook. From there she is contacted by a man, Thomas, a representative of a mysterious international corporation with questionable ethics, who recruits her as an assassin. Her mental health, shaky to begin with, begins to snap under the strain of taking so many human lives, especially when some of them are innocent bystanders. To ease the pain, she lifts artwork from public museums, liberating priceless classics with an exacto knife and taking them home, refusing to sell them.

Beyond that there isn't much story. A former stripper/con woman who has an angry New Orleans mobster on her tail and a shady business as a new employer should come across as a more interesting character. Yet the plot feels like something taken from Heroes. Felicia spends most of her time spouting sass that's supposed to pass for spunky empowerment, or dressed in barely existent underwear or form-fitting ninja outfits. Not even a subplot about her increasingly worsening mental state can put any sparks in the story. The story seems very confused about what it wants to be, an X-Men style tale or an episode of SVU. Likable as Felicia may be, she does not do much do redeem her selfish choices.

The energetic, graffiti-like "dirty" art wonderfully conveys the angry energy of the characters. The witty dialogue is some of the best stuff since the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Other than those brilliant elements, though, the story doesn't take enough chances or cover enough new territory to be more than mildly interesting.

review by
Mary Harvey

15 August 2015

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