cover image The Couriers Volume 3: The Ballad of Johnny Funwrecker

The Couriers Volume 3: The Ballad of Johnny Funwrecker

Brian Wood. AIT Planet Lar, $12.95 (88pp) ISBN 978-1-932051-31-5

Up until now, this urban action series has been set in the New York of the early 2000s, but this third volume looks back to 1993 for the origin of the previous books' criminal heroes, Special and Moustafa. The pair independently get in with Johnny Funwrecker, the hard-as-nails Chinatown crime boss for whom every grunge kid in the city seems to work; they learn to shoot, deal and earn for him until they decide to go it on their own. Tough-girl Special at 15 is a pleasure to behold, her coltish physicality contrasting with her burgeoning criminal character, while Moustafa is a little boy just getting the hard knocks that will turn him into an underworld mercenary. The multitude of references to New York City and early '90s culture-Moustafa listens to Mudhoney, and Wood has described Special as a Riot Grrrl-provide plenty of insider jokes for readers familiar with either. G's art, stylish and filled with movement, effectively uses photo reproductions to up the reality of the city landscape. This thrillingly fast-paced and violent story has the added bonus of offering real insight into characters with whom readers may already be familiar, while remaining accessible to those who aren't. Wood's story and G's art combine to make a shoot-em-up with a hip edge. This may be the best in the series to date.