Overview

Daytripper #2

Review

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Daytripper #2

Credits

  • Words: Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon
  • Art: Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Story Title: 21
  • Publisher: Vertigo Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 13, 2010

When we met Bras de Oliva Domingos last issue, he was a man at the end of his days.  Consumed by his job and the shadow of his father’s legacy, he struggled with his own identity.  Death was an obsession that was waiting at his door.

This issue, we see our hero at the vital age of 21.  He is not an obituary writer yet.  His father’s shadow doesn’t seem to loom over him.  However, it would appear that another shadow is headed his way.

Much of this issue goes out its way to show that Bras is an outsider in his own homeland.  He and Jorge are being young.  Traveling.  Experiencing life to its fullest.  However, the protagonist is white and as a result, most of his fellow countrymen see him as a “gringo.”  They will try to rope him in as a tourist mark.  They are not as easy to approach for him.

Jorge is a free spirit and as we know from last issue, there for the writer until the end.  In a way, he serves a function as a conscience, a guiding light.  He is Jiminy Cricket, if you will.  What is interesting in this issue is the relationship that Bras has with a mysterious woman.

The most intriguing thing is that even though Jorge and Olinda are seen in panels together, they never interact.  She sees him, but it is not clear that he ever sees her.  As the story progresses, there is a bit of magic realism going on and one wonders if the girl is a personification of the spirit that is being celebrated in a local ceremony.  She does point out many interesting things about why Jorge is important and this adds to the knowledge of the characters that Ba and Moon are slowly revealing to their audience.

This issue plays as a beginning, especially compared to the definitive ending of last issue.  How Bras transforms from the carefree traveler here to the man who feels at odds with the responsibilities of his life in 11 years will hopefully be the crux of what the remaining eight issues are about.  There are clues here. Does he think that Olinda drowns?  Is the job he is interviewing for in a few days, the newspaper job that consumes his life in a few years? 

On top of the top notch character work that makes Daytripper eerily similar to Brian Wood's Local, the reader is treated to the incomparable artwork of Moon and Ba.  When Dave Stewart is thrown in on colors, there is no one working in comics today, short of Mignola himself, who can touch the professionalism, creative stylings, and storytelling abilities that is on display here.  This is at once a slick book with accomplished art that sets itself apart not only from the capes and tights set, but from your run of the mill Vertigo art as well.  That’s a funny thing to say, run of the mill Vertigo art, but the beauty and skill of this book makes it a true statement.

Ba and Moon are just taking you into the lives of these characters, though.  They also transport the reader to an exotic locale and make you feel like a part of the action.  You can smell the local cuisine, you can feel the dust rising in the market, you can hear the bustle of the crowd, you can taste the salt in the ocean.  It is an astonishing accomplishment.



Daytripper is a mystery full of intrigue, but surprisingly not full of suspense.  Instead, it is a careful character study.  The solicitation for issue one stated that the series would spotlight the most important days in a person’s (one assumes Bras is that person) life.  The creators state that we will get to know Bras before the end of the series and that we will have more questions before we really gain answers.  In a unique manner, I want to know what is going to happen just as much as I would if this were an edge of the seat thriller.  The puzzle that is this man’s life is probably the most compelling read on the comics rack.

Suddenly Vertigo has gone from being the edgy cool kids label.  With this and Unwritten, they are clearly after the coffee shop set.  This book is just as complex and rich as anything by Esquivel and just as touching as a book by Marquez.  I have a feeling that the creators would be fine with those comparisons.

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Comments

  • Lee Newman

    Lee Newman Jan 15, 2010 at 4:32pm

    Has anyone else read this? It has come to my attention that the ending of this book may have a profoundly different reading which changes the scope of the book, if it is a correct reading.

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