Bang Bang Lucita #1
Written and Lettered by Chuck Amadori
Art by Edson Alves
Flattener Bobby Penafiel
Colors by Nimesh Morarji
Published by Isle Squared Comics/Nimprod Comics
The year is 1874 – nearly a decade removed from the events of the U.S. Civil War. The 18th President of the United States of America, Ulysses S. Grant, makes his way to Harrisburg to deliver an important address. However, what he and his presidential escorts are not aware of is that they are being followed by a band of callous killers.
Among those who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the President is Lucita. Lucita is a Mexican immigrant working in Harrisburg as a cook for a well-known establishment. Her chance to see the President make his grand entrance is ruined by her pompous and heavily opinionated boss, Mr. Baylor.
President Grant and the First Lady are received into Harrisburg by Mayor Appleton and are subsequently brought to Mr. Baylor’s establishment to enjoy a fine meal. Lucita gets a chance to meet the President up close, but she’s scolded and humiliated by Mr. Baylor for her dumbfounded reaction after meeting the Commander-in-Chief.
President Grant is not too keen about Mr. Baylor’s harsh treatment of Lucita. The President grants (couldn’t resist the temptation to use a pun) the ill-mannered Mr. Baylor the benefit of some much needed guidance.
Lucita is more than elated to overhear the President reprimand Mr. Baylor and she celebrates the moment by skillfully throwing a knife at a makeshift pin-up of her boss.
Later on, Mr. Baylor strictly forbids Lucita from attending the President’s address. The visibly disappointed Lucita tried mentioning to Mr. Baylor that the entire town would be in attendance for the event, but to no avail.
Once the town is gathered and ready to listen to the President deliver his speech at a local theatre, Lucita notices a group of bandits, with guns drawn, heading straight for the President. The thugs enter the building and swiftly overwhelm the President’s security.
Without pause, Lucita dons an outfit and equips herself with several throwing knives in preparation for her encounter with the would-be assassins.
Lucita makes her debut as a heroine in style and mercilessly takes out the bandits. She manages to save President Grant but fails to prevent the kidnapping of the First Lady.
Let’s get most of the cons out of the way before I highlight what I did like about this issue.
At first glance, the cover to this book has a very suggestive title coupled with stereotypical imagery and colors. An example of that is the use of the words “Spicy Premiere Issue” painted in the colors of the Mexican flag. In addition, the use of theatrical curtains as a backdrop with a well-shaped woman swinging from a rope while wearing high heels, could easily send the mind wandering to a place that completely takes the focus away from Lucita’s true purpose.
We are now living in a day and age where the public in general has a negative perception about the mistreatment of women in comic books, in cosplay and even inside the industry, making it a topic that’s at the center of attention within the comic book community. Not a day goes by where I don’t see or hear of a spirited debate about this among fans or creators online courtesy of the various social media outlets. While most of the industry is feverishly attempting to reverse this negative trend by spotlighting their female characters in a constructive manner, Bang Bang Lucita would appear to be heading in the opposite direction. Without question, this book is better suited for an older audience. Although used sparingly, the book also contains profanity. I didn’t notice anything in writing throughout the book that would warn anyone of its literal contents, but hopefully the title of the book alone would do the trick.
The story of Lucita in itself is good. Isle Squared Comics in conjunction with Nimprod Comics do a really good job of bringing historical realism into Lucita’s world. The post Civil War era was not all peaches and cream, as America was full of racial tension and greed (come to think of it, it still is). Chuck Amadori demonstrates his best work with his interpretation of Ulysses S. Grant, particularly when the President defends Lucita from Mr. Baylor’s insensitive attitude and remarks. Aside from the sexual insinuations with the main character, the art done by Edson Alves is pretty darn good. The coloring provided by Nimesh Morarji was masterful, especially for a book set in the late 1800’s.
I wouldn’t necessarily consider Bang Bang Lucita a top-mover or a must read comic; however, it does have a good plot with an ample amount of historical references. Seeing a Latina woman set as the main character in a stand-alone title was rather invigorating. Although Lucita is on the right side of the law, a role model she is not. I’m very curious to see how Lucita evolves over time.
Until next time!