Junkyard Joe #4
The tales of Mad Ghost’s Unnamed continue as danger closes in on Muddy Davis and the robot soldier known only as Joe. But it gets worse when Muddy’s young neighbor Emily becomes tangled in the complex web that threatens all of their lives. A sinister faction is gaining ground to claim Joe for their own…and they won’t leave any witnesses.
Junkyard Joe #4 picks up with Emily discovering Joe inside of Muddy’s house. Surprisingly, Muddy is very cool about it and updates her on everything that has happened so far. Things start to get more complicated for Muddy when Emily’s brother and sister, Will and Grace, also discover Joe. Meanwhile, a clandestine group of individuals, dressed like Joe, are on the hunt for Joe and are killing any witnesses on their way. The issue concludes with Muddy bringing Joe into town for help from a friend while Emily and her siblings run into the clandestine group in Muddy’s house.
Gary Frank and Brad Anderson are at the top of their game here. Frank continues to stun with his character designs, with everyone feeling super lifelike. Anderson also shines in his colors. There is a specific page where the members of the clandestine organization are approached by police officers that highlights his work. Anderson is able to consistently draw the red and blue flashing lights while also maintaining the dark and shadowy background. This helps bring the page to life and immerse readers in the story.
Frank’s pencils continue to bring out the realism in this science fiction story. The town that Muddy goes into towards the end of the issue is full of life, with all of the buildings and background characters being drawn with as much detail as the main characters. Frank also draws the leader of the clandestine organization much like he did with Batman in Batman Earth One, with visible eyes. This allows for much more interpretive insight into the character, while also creating a sense of mystery as to who they are. This also sets the character apart from Joe, since they otherwise look almost identical.
The writing in this issue for the most part is serviceable, but Johns struggles when he tries to infuse humor to break up expository scenes. When Will and Grace first discover Joe, Muddy asks them if their names are a reference to the TV show. The kids respond with confusion since they had never heard of the show. This comes off as boomer humor with Johns playing on the “kids nowadays don’t know anything from pop culture before the 2000s” trope. Humor like this really brings to question who this book is for. This also took away my suspension of disbelief since there is no way that Muddy was the first person to ever make this connection. There is also no way that Will and Grace are in no way privy to their names being a reference to a popular show.
Johns’ story continues to unravel in this issue but unfortunately, not a lot happens. It seems like even in this fourth issue, we are still just reading the setup for this story. Plotlines like Emily’s father’s outburst from the last issue, the racism that Will was experiencing in school, and Emily trying to fit in at school are either hardly addressed here, or not at all. A lot of this issue feels like Johns is taking a break from the important character work in order to keep this story moving forward. Geiger, the series this book is spun off from, feels the same way at times. This universe is fun to explore but there’s a lot to be desired with the pacing and overall structure.
Junkyard Joe #4 continues to further the plot but at a detriment to the characters. The art is fantastic and is once again, the best part of this series.
Junkyard Joe #4: What’s Up With The Robot?!?!?
- Writing - 6/106/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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