Terminal Punks #3
The cover pays homage to the album “Remain in Light” by the Talking Heads.

Writer: Mathew Erman

Artist: Shelby Criswell

Letterer: Micah Myers

Publisher: Mad Cave Studio 

Spoilers ahead for Terminal Punks #1 & #2, which are highly recommended. 

Terminal Punks #3

Last month, in my review for Terminal Punks #2, I wrote that it was hard not to anticipate the issue narrated by D’arby, the band’s resident jerk (she once stabbed Sway just for reading her Spooderman comics).

In fact, one of the ways in which Terminal Punks #3 succeeds is the way it works as a piece of serialized storytelling, swiftly picking up the narrative threads that have already been begun in the previous two issues (like Sway’s crush on Burton) and weaving them together with additional elements (like D’arby’s perspective on her role in the band). 

Building on the Backbeat

Plus, issue three of Terminal Punks does a good job of building on the groundwork laid by the previous issues, in several different ways. For one, the color-coded instrument-differentiated narration boxes continue to be utilized to full effect, affording easy navigation of both the dialogue and the narration.

Terminal Punks #3 continues to build on the thematic groundwork laid by previous issues, as well, especially with regard to its treatment of authority figures. This time, it isn’t just the band that gets a chance to stand off against the mutated animals, the questionably competent police get the opportunity, as well – and it does not go well for them!

Terminal Punks #3
Kee’s jacket is rad!

Fortunately (for us readers, at least), whether it’s against our heroes or the authorities, the violence continues to be rendered in Criswell’s absolutely fantastic singular style. Freaky animals, unhinged mayhem, cops having their eyeballs popped out by fanged flying kangaroos – it’s all here, and it’s all really fun to look at!

Meanwhile, Hart Kelsey, the head of the {Enoch} Corporation who’s responsible for the mutated animals tearing through JFK Airport, continues to be completely disconnected from reality. In spite of the fact that his creations are killing scores of police officers right in front of his face, he still believes he may shirk responsibility and, further still, continue to profit off of the malicious mutated animals (and to be fair, this may well be the case – capitalism is whack, after all).

Actually Awful

Terminal Punks #3
D’arby actually has much worse things than this to say.
Terminal Punks #3
Somebody’s gonna need some fresh Cream for that burn.

One of my favorite things about this issue is the fact that it allows D’arby to be actually awful, even going so far as to have her say an ableist remark (and then, crucially, having Kee call her on it). While D’arby’s awfulness could have been confined to her arrogance and general attitude toward her fellow band members, adding the extra layer of ableism adds verisimilitude to the character – and further, makes it impossible for the reader to ignore her flaws: it’s easy enough to hand wave away D’arby grousing that she has to carry these “boners,” but her ableism can’t be ignored.

 

However, allowing D’arby such missteps also makes the conflict between the band and {Enoch} more morally complicated: it isn’t necessariy “good versus evil,” and our heroes are decidedly not perfect.

The Narrative Midpoint

With two issues ahead and two issues behind us, we’re at the narrative midpoint of Terminal Punks – and while it may not be clear what ending we’re hurtling towards, it certainly promises to be loud. I plan on being in the front row!

Terminal Punks #3 is available today at your local comic shop, or through the Mad Cave Studios website.

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