By Dustin Cabeal
It’s been an interesting ride with Doctor Muscles. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this series has been the creator’s ability to capture a past era’s storytelling, without making it feel dated. I have said in my last two reviews that Doctor Muscles looks and feels like a story that would have been extremely popular in Heavy Metal Magazine back in the eighties. The setting and look play heavily into this, but the key thing is that it doesn’t read like an 80s comic. I recently read a comic that was attempting to read and feel like a 60s TV show and accomplished that goal. The problem was, it was fucking terrible for it. That is why Doctor Muscles succeeds because it doesn’t try to be an 80s comic.
The story continues. Obviously. Muscles and Mickey go on their merry way; they run into more people that Muscles worked with that fell through the crack, and eventually we get to the final showdown.
It’s rewarding; it’s fitting, and it has plenty of twists and turns. I still don’t know if what I said in my second review is true. Is this all in Muscles’ head? Is this his way of coping with the accident he caused or did it all really happen? I could just be reading into too deeply and the creators never intended to have this idea of “is it all real” come about, but part of me thinks that it is. Part of me thinks that you can either view the ending as happy or as sad.
The writing is damn good. Especially with this final volume, to see how the creators have pieced everything together and kept all their analogies and word play in order was a treat to read. The dialogue continued to be overpowering at times. It just didn’t need as much as it had, especially at the introduction of the new character. It felt like a call back to their style on the first two volumes, but so close to the end, I was chomping at the bit to continue.
The art again varies. It looks like there were some of the same artists as the first two volumes so in a way there is a consistency there. I still didn’t like all of the styles, but there was some improvement which made them more tolerable. This time around there were a few artists I enjoyed and would check out on another title. Regardless of my enjoyment of the styles or not, each artist is very skilled and kept the story moving and entertaining.
Again, this has been a hell of a ride. While I may never know for sure if the deeper meaning of the story was intentional or not, I still really enjoyed the character of Doctor Muscles. I don’t know if another adventure would have the same meaning, but if he ever came back around, I would check it out. Otherwise, I enjoyed this three and done story. If anything, Bogus Books showed that you can do a series of just graphic novels in America and produce some great material.
Doctor Muscles – Journal Three
Writer: Austin Tinius and Robert Salinas
Publisher: Bogus Book