cover image Hopeless Savages, Vol. 2: Ground Zero

Hopeless Savages, Vol. 2: Ground Zero

Jen Van Meter, Jennifer Van Meter, Jen Van Meter, , illus. by Bryan Lee O'Malley, Christine Norrie, Andi Watson and Chynna Clu. Oni Press, $11.95 (120pp) ISBN 978-1-929998-52-4

An Osbournes for manga readers, this is a fun, breezy series about a family sired by once-hip rock 'n' rollers Dirk Hopeless and Nikki Savage. Their 16-year-old daughter, Zero, is the focus of this second collection in the series. She's in a funk—school is a drag; her entire family is being filmed for the Behind the Music stand-in, Fame and Shame; and she's out of luck with boys. Zero is a likably surly punk rock kid, complete with her own vocabulary of slang, a band and a bad temper. She soon meets Ginger Kincaid, a square, MIT-bound science student, and falls head over heels. Misunderstandings right out of a 1980s teen movie ensue: Zero has a falling-out with her mom and then makes up; her brother has relationship difficulties with his boyfriend; meanwhile, the Fame and Shame cameras are rolling to catch it all. This is an intelligent comic for teens: seemingly aimed at a high school MTV crowd, it doesn't condescend to its audience, instead treating Zero's emotional turmoil with sympathy and even insight. It occasionally suffers from excessive cuteness—the family name is a dead giveaway for the series' high level of saccharine—but that's offset by witty dialogue, swift pacing and the dynamic, manga-inspired b&w artwork, mostly by O'Malley. His simple style manages to convey the family's emotions with minimum effort, while maintaining a strong sense of both the expressions and the wardrobes of the characters. (Mar.)