Pop! Goes the Icon hits the shelves again this week with Los Ojos (“The Eyes,” for those others of us out there who are unfortunate gringos), and it’s a fun romp, but doesn’t quite hit the heights for which it shoots.
The story follows a hitman in confession, who has the power to see the truth of a person when he looks into their eyes (their ojos, perhaps). He finds a lot of creative ways to do this without actually getting very close in for the kill, until he is forced to really go after a scumbag who’s been selling kids into sex slavery. The issue descends into fight scenes and plot twists after that, but it keeps it all moving at a healthy clip.
Artist Francesco Laquita is a real star on this issue. His pacing is spot on, and what he flubs a bit in figurework and facial acting, he makes up for with excellent action sequences. He has a keen design sense for the truly monstrous characters in this book, but also does a strong job grounding all the action and monstrosity in realistic characters and settings. My biggest issue with his style is that it seems a bit dated—you can tell Laquita has read his fair share of Spawn comics, and his style mimics that sort of 90’s sensibility, with the sharp chins and muscular demons. I’d be interested to check in with him in a year or two and see if his style has changed at all. Also, and this is not necessarily the fault of anyone, I would have put a colorist on this one. Laquita’s work reads well in black and white, but a colorist would absolutely slay with some of the monsters and atmospheres in the book.
Writer/letterer Trevor Mueller does a capable job on both fronts. What he lacks in dialogue, he makes up for in his wisdom in when to step back and let Laquita be a star. Unfortunately, the story is one that will let readers get ahead of it too quickly and too far—nothing happens in this comic that will surprise you, except possibly the final twist. That final twist warrants another flip through the issue to find some of the evidence you may have missed, but it still feels a bit tacked on. The content feels like a supernatural twist on Chuck Forsman’s Revenger series, but it feels like just the right length for a one-shot. Mueller’s lettering needs work, as many of his narrative caps stack oddly and his connectors between distant balloons are a little clunky. Ultimately, it gets his story told and it does it in a mostly unobtrusive manner, so it works here.
Los Ojos is a fun diversion, but it ultimately can’t decide if it wants to give the readers too little or too much. I’m intrigued to see what Mueller and Laquita have in store next.
Los Ojos Writer/Letterer: Trevor Mueller Artist: Francesco Laquita Publisher: Pop! Goes the Icon Release Date: 1/13/16 Format: One-Shot, Print/Digital