Being a one Mambo act can be a tough act, but that’s never slowed Punk Mambo down before. Well, maybe until now. Issue #3 was a tough one since this is the first time where we have really seen her beaten like this by someone who seems out of her league. It was an excellent introduction to the true villain of the story. At first we questioned how you defeat someone who can steal Loas, but now we have to question how you beat someone who you can’t even use magic around?
Like I said last month, the game has now changed with a better understanding of what is at stake, and the rules that have been set. With the start of Punk Mambo #4, little time was wasted reminding us of the current score between Azaire and Punk Mambo. What creates the most anticipation for this issue was definitely wondering how the heck she can possibly bounce back from this defeat. At this point we are at that stage in the story where the hero is supposed to hit rock bottom, and then rise above it. Though how does that work for someone like Punk Mambo? Is revenge enough to get back into the fight? Is her anger enough as someone who has just now been knocked down a peg by someone who can’t even cast a spell?
Things surprisingly got engaging when this defeat created the opportunity to genuinely dive into the mind of Punk Mambo. As I’ve said before, the appreciation in finally getting this series is the chance to finally see beyond the sarcasm and snark. She’s someone who you could easily write off as being your average rebellious punk or Brit, but this creative team took the time to add context to her attitude. There was no better time than now to take everyone back to her early days which consistently fuel her perspective of people and the world around her. Understanding her past made it easy to jump into that state of mind where she could still find fight in herself to prepare for the next round. The only thing which caught me off guard was the change in relationship between Punk Mambo and Josef.
While we got to know Azaire and some of his intentions, there was still the mystery of Azaire’s right hand, Renaud, to address. Things got exciting when you could also understand what drives someone like him to work with someone like Azaire who threatens the world of voodoo and magic. Somewhat similar motivations, though the guy who actually got his hands dirty. Despite knowing how things would end for him, this did not change how chilling it was for him to see two Mambos who have been royally ticked off. The magic was creative, and they did not hold back responding back in kind.
One thing stood out more than anything else, and that was the defining of voodoo. What tends to also make these books special is the extra mile gone to explain a concept that you wouldn’t be able to in another book. What this creative team got into was the most profound breakdown of the meaning of voodoo, beyond just the magic. They debunked some things, and emphasized other things in the process too.
The best way that I can describe the artwork for Punk Mambo, is crude. There was so much to the visual dissection of Punk Mambo which made this one of the strongest issues. The best way to capture this Mambo was to show her in her natural state. Being bloody and battered like this is new, but it was also the most punk she has ever looked. To even say her natural state came literally as well when we got a rare opportunity to see just how old she really is. It was strange to say that sex magic was the highlight of this art team’s work, but it was quite a sight to see something like that set in motion. There was a beauty to it that perfectly matched Punk Mambo’s description of the way that voodoo works. It wasn’t as crude as the way that the voodoo dolls also turned out. You may have assumed that the dolls had something to do with the sex magic, but it was something else entirely. The dolls were creative for the twisted nature that they took on. The teeth, the claws, the blood, all of it was unexpectedly scary in a good way.
Punk Mambo #4 is the kind of issue you wait for from a solo series. These are never complete without that space taken advantage of to flesh out the main character or the way that their world works, in ways that other creative teams have not before. Beyond that? An excellent build-up to the finale, and embrace of what makes Punk Mambo the ultimate underdog in this supernatural war.