August 28, 2011

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SPX Spotlight: The Legettes from Belefski and Carabeo

This is part of Panel Patter's SPX Spotlight, a series of reviews of work from creators or publishers who will be attending SPX in 2011 leading up to the show on September 10th and 11th, 2011!

Written by Joe Carabeo
Illustrated by Carolyn Belefski
Curls Studio (self-published)

MC is a former agent who's about as far down on his luck as you can possibly be. He once had a team of three sexy secret agents, but they allegedly died at the hands of a monster. Blamed for the tragedy, MC has been on an downward spiral ever since. Abandoned even by his friends, it seems nothing can change his life--except for a burlesque show? It's all setting the stage for a larger story that will play out in...the Legettes.

This is fun story that has an awful lot going on in just one issue. We have a future where a corporation might not be all that clean and deals with its employees ruthlessly. There are technical advances that create cyborgs, futuristic communication devices, and the ability to avoid almost certain death. There are creatures and bar fights and even a striptease. It's almost too much to contain in one issue, but the idea is to set up the world the Legettes are in as quickly as possible, and I think Belefski and Carabeo do a good job of getting it all together.

The only thing that doesn't feel quite right is MC himself. He's a pretty typical protagonist who is set up to be an unreliable narrator that I'm sure will be vindicated in the end. I'm hoping that there's a bit more depth in his character as we go along. Right now, he's just wandering around giving exposition. It's needed, but as we move forward, he will need to do more than that.

Belefski's artwork for this is typical of every other thing I've seen her draw. The characters are very rounded and flow across the page. Even the mechanical and futuristic backgrounds have a sense of being more fluid than you'd normally expect from this kind of story. She also does a lot of placement work that puts the action right in the face of the reader. I like that the action of this story really pops out at me. Belefski also does a really nice job of keeping the designs varied and keeping people spread around the page so that things are busy, but not crowded. It's a great visual reading experience.

One of the occasionally maddening parts of being a fan of mini-comics is reading the first part of a longer story like this and knowing that you have to wait for the creator's stars to align again and let them get back to the material. I really enjoyed the Legettes, and I want to know what happens next. Unfortunately, as of this writing, there's still no issue two. I definitely recommend this one, but keep in mind that it's not complete yet.

Though I've since read other, smaller works by the creative team of Belefski and Carabeo, this was actually my first experience with their work, recommended by Ed Sizemore. They have quite a few other characters to choose from, including a pair of clever thieves (Black Magic Tales) and Carolyn's webcomic, Curls. You could also see if Carolyn is free to do a sketch for you, as she does excellent work. If you can't make SPX, you can find their work here. Check them out!