cover image Memorial Ride

Memorial Ride

Stephen Graham Jones and Maria Wolf. Univ. of New Mexico, $24.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0-8263-6323-7

A Blackfeet Native soldier returns from Afghanistan to discover a different kind of war waiting in this rushed-feeling road-revenge comic from horror maestro Jones (My Heart Is a Chainsaw). After punching out his commanding officer, Cooper Town gets sent home to Oklahoma to bury his father. At first things are looking up: Cooper inherits a wicked-cool Harley chopper and a promise of $3,000 from a man who owed his dad, as long as he can get to Albuquerque. But the problems pile up, from Cooper’s girlfriend Sheri’s possible pregnancy to a psychopathic pack of “drugstore cowboys” who gunned down Cooper’s Army buddy and now are after him. Jones’s trademark pop culture–laden sardonic humor lays it on thick throughout the hyperactively paced story, including a running series of John Wayne gags. The corpses accumulate as Cooper and Sheri try to stay ahead of their murderous pursuers, yet the narrative lacks tension, and its two-dimensionality is only reinforced by Wolf’s flat and unpolished art. It’s more a sketched-out premise, likely to disappoint readers eager for a signature Jones thrill ride. The promise of a lot of guns and miles of empty highway never motors fully up. Agent: BJ Robbins, BJ Robbins Literary Agency. (Oct.)