Writer: Sean Mackiewicz / Artists: Mat Lopes, Niko Walter / Image Comics
Note: For a comic about a husband/wife couple, we put our resident husband/wife reviewing team, Aisha and Frantz, on the job.
Aisha Jordan: Disclaimer, I don’t read comics, but I love comic storylines or else why would I be here. So for this Bonnie and Clyde badass duo, I’m teaming up with my more seasoned comic book reader husband.
Frantz Jerome: Husband here. I reads comics, it’s kinda my thing. We about give y’all some insight on a new Image entry, Gasolina.
AJ: Randy and Amalia, a husband and wife team working at a farm, burning infested crops. Where, and when? I’m getting ‘post-apocalyptic’ from the beginning here. Thoughts?
FJ: Definitely infested. Boll weevils are terrible little things, it looks like they are in South America though. Dope to see a Black man and Latinx woman as protagonists. It hasn’t been done quite like this before. They are a cute ass couple.
AJ: I immediately think of Interstellar with the crops going bad! Remember, I’m a movie nerd…
FJ: Kudos to the creative team for dropping us into this world a la Interstellar, with no idea of where we are or when. I enjoy having to piece how the world works in the same way we have to piece together how the characters navigate that world. I could see new readers asking, “where we at and what are we doing” at first glance though.
AJ: You see the love between the two – a sweet couple just trying to get by, doing honest farm work and weird beetles. Then the gunshots go off. Then we see a glimpse of their real personalities. Randy is tending wounds and Amalia looks like she’s ready to strap up and head out.
FJ: That whole sequence was jarring as hell. We were just in the fields with Randy and Amalia. She was threatening to ‘put him to bed’, then boom! They busting off shots. A really great use of narrative tension, they bring us in with the lovey-dovey then switch over to action scenes. There are a few of those moments in the issue.
AJ: It’s clear that Amalia is more badass than Randy. At first, I identified with Randy. Then I thought about it. I’m more of a ‘determined, willing to do anything to get it done with a special set of skills’ type. You know, like Amalia. Not saying Randy doesn’t have skills too…But you’re the caring (read “soft”) one babe; a healing people type people person, you know? Like Randy.
FJ: Word? That’s how we getting it? You right, Amalia is a little cold blooded *Rick James voice*. True to form though they both go into action immediately, it’s almost like they have training in dealing with wild gunshot wounds. The creative team also uses this splash page to hint that there’s more happening under the surface (pun life, what?!) then we know.
AJ: Cut to…Amalia’s brother, the head honcho at the farm. He calls Randy into his office and we find out the boss’s son is missing. “Taken” even. Randy gets all rational and says pay them. This is why I liked Randy, but in reality, he’s trying to keep this from getting to Amalia because he knows she’ll do anything to get her nephew back. Right?
FJ: Nah. He’s trying to keep them out the game. Giving them a backstory that only arrives with how they respond to what’s happening around them is a cool and really mature move by the writers. It signifies that they want to build a style of storytelling that saves the crazy stuff for the perfect time. Randy looks like he knows how this goes down as if to say he’s negotiated mad cartel hostage situations. OG status here. Just saying.
AJ: So Randy gets the intel, and Amalia is always driving, and always the one with the shotgun. Just saying.
FJ: From this point of conflict, the book moves a little quicker.
AJ: So the kidnappers or rival cartel uses statues for moving their product, we have to assume drugs, going off the setup we are given. Still hinting that there’s something else going on. Some elusive second thing
FJ: The setup here for the either supernatural or extra-terrestrial aspect of the plot is just begging to burst out of the story’s chest.
AJ: Amalia is ready to go, shotgun in hand and ready to get her nephew back. See, I’m always the one with the plan – get it done, emotions later. They do the drop, give the ransom and get the kid. I felt like Amalia was disappointed she didn’t get to pop off, but it’s cool we’re only in issue one.
FJ: Randy’s cooler head prevailed, like in real life.
AJ: After the job is done it gets real. They unwind as most couples do. This moment is sexy af. Randy, rightfully so, appreciates his wife ?.
AJ: Cut to… the rescued nephew is troubled, tossing in his sleep. His father (Amalia’s brother) comes to check on him and the son goes full Aliens with a creature leaping out of his chest killing both father and son!
FJ: Called it (refer to chest reference above)! The reveal that a larger, more nefarious arc is going to carry this story across the next few issues. This is so ‘only the beginning’. Amalia ‘bout to go ‘Daredevil in the hallway’ on this cartel.
AJ: Right!? I kept looking like, “I’m ready to read more!” and I was like, “Oh…It’s only the first issue.” It’s about to get serious, and honestly, dame mas gasolina. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
FJ: Gasolina mixes the local politics of Scalped with the simmering horror of Evil Dead. Image presents a very well thought out, grounded, supernatural crime action drama that takes heavy subject matter and makes it palatable, without watering it down. At all.