If I could describe Serving Supes #3 in one word, that word would be “fun”. It feels like a newspaper strip that was colored and fleshed out into a full comic book. The writing is witty and the art is suited for adults, yet is cartoonish enough to capture the whimsy and absurdity of the premise.
The story follows two brothers, Cheech and Clive O’Huang, who run a business serving subpoenas to superheroes and other crime fighters. Unfortunately, the only qualifying skill these guys have is the guts to actually do it! They’re essentially the rodeo clowns of the legal system, doing what must be done for the show to go on despite the personal injury that may ensue. This issue involves serving a vigilante known as “Man Hunter” papers of a more personal nature, but these guys don’t mind, considering the amount of money backing the deal! However, Clive just got dumped, so he has plans for a blind date while Cheech and coworker Liz work the gig. The story bounces back and forth between the blind date and the job, both of which are funny and awkward at times. Clive and his date, Marti, really hit things off until some of their deal breakers come to light, including how his date hates bondsmen and process servers! Meanwhile, Cheech tries to overcome his aversion to conflict by being a real jerk. There’s no way that could backfire!! The issue culminates with Clive returning from his date just as the action hits its climax and justice is served.
So, this book resonated with me in several ways. First of all, the struggle is real for their business. In a world of superheroes and villains, lawsuits are bound to happen, but jobs probably come few and far between. So, when Billy Bondsman (har har) passes along a job worth 50 grand, it’s like a Godsend for the O’Huang bros. Cheech even says “Last month’s rent is as good as half paid!” and I’ve been there. We all have at some point, so I appreciate that. Also, the awkwardness is tangible for Clive in his love life. The reason he is dumped stems from his inability to handle social situations (and deformities, apparently), so the fact that the blind date starts off so good is surprising, until it goes downhill, fast. Also, Cheech is such a nice guy, that when he tries to take the gloves off and be aggressive, he ends up going overboard and digging himself into a hole. Liz is a nice foil to Cheech and tries to help him tone it down, but the damage has already been done. It doesn’t help he keeps calling Man Hunter “Man Hater”. This book captures how real life isn’t ideal and is usually only funny because of how big a mess it is.
From a technical standpoint, this comic hits all the right notes with art and story. Steve Stern and Matt Yuan write Serving Supes , while Matt and John Yuan cover the art. The art is reminiscent of an adult swim or anime style with clear western influences. Realism is nowhere to be found, and that is perfect for this book. My one complaint is the disproportionate figure of Marti, but honestly, it works for the feel of the book. What’s the point of cartoons, if not to embellish real life, right? As I’ve said, the writing is quite funny. Not all the jokes are “jokey”, but rather feel at home in a sit com. I will admit it feels forced at times, but I see why it’s done this way. Also, while I feel as though this is clearly not a kids’ comic, foul language is kept to a minimum, so it’s safe to keep in a mixed household. The middle finger makes an appearance, but that’s as bad as it gets.
This is a weird comic, but it is a good one. It is a comedy, first and foremost, but action and character building have a prominent place in the plot. Serving Supes #3 works great as a stand-alone comic, with no previous knowledge needed for a complete story and no cliffhangers to bully the reader into buying the next issue for a resolution. This is a welcome change to the mainstream, arc-based comic standard of today. Pick it up for a laugh with no strings attached. Great, Four out of Five Stars