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Helena Crash #1

Written by Fabian Rangel, Jr.
Art by Warwick Johnson Cadwell
Published by IDW

I don’t know about you, but I could really use a cup of coffee. After the intensity of last weekend’s NC Comicon Oak City, with all that IDW and the other indie folks brought in, I have been exhausted. So today’s new series could not have come at a better time.

In the future, the environment is so bad that growing coffee has become impossible, and possession of this rare bean is now illegal. Helena Crash is the toughest courier in town, and for a price, she’ll pick you up a little bag of the good stuff. But this job has run her afoul of masked street gang, Los Fantasmas, and she’s going to get sucked into a gang war if she’s not careful. And no, Helena is NOT careful.

This is the perfect little book to pick up after a con. The art is kinetic and vibrant and weird, just like those books you got from the self-publishers on Artist’s Alley, but it keeps an internal logic that makes it more readable than most. The writer lets the setting get weird, with mutants all over the place and a Blade Runner tone, but Helena herself stays grounded and relatable. I love when creators push envelopes, but I’m buying a comic to read it, and this book doesn’t lose that in the celebratory cacophony of its first issue.

The backmatter suggests a playlist for reading this issue (while, of course, sneaking a cup of coffee), and yes, Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” is an eery, wonderful fit to the tough, self-aware aesthetic of this book. I wish I’d seen that before reading it, and now you can be prepared.

Okay, rest up however you need to after whatever your Con experience was. You’ve earned it. But when you crawl back into the real world, let Helena smooth that transition out for you. And hey, we’ll see you in September for the Greensboro edition of NC Comicon. Be prepared.

-MATT CONNER for Ultimate Comics