The Auteur: Sister Bambi #4 is the perfect comic book. There, I said it!
And honestly, I could walk away from this review right there, as-is, and be completely happy to leave it for your fine selves to explore what exactly makes it so achingly, humblingly incredible. And because I refuse to go into much as regards spoilers - since I think a book like this shuns that type of analysis - this review may come across as frustratingly vague to some; especially those who have never read it. Sorry about that. (Also, what the fuck are you doing not reading this book?)
Suffice it to say that The Auteur is, and has been since its inception, the blueprint for what truly transcendent indie comics can and should be. And The Auteur: Sister Bambi #4 showcases every single reason why that is.
Plot-wise, issue four sees the completion of Nathan T. Rex’s current film project, which again, was once funded by gang rape-obsessed, eccentric millionaire nazi clones, and later, by Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS, to be a ridiculously gory propaganda snuff film. Things don’t go according to plan, of course, thanks to technical difficulties, the overcoming of personal insecurities and undead dinosaurs, but they do, in a very literal and absolutely farcical way, end.
And like I said, it’s perfect.
More than any other comic book out there, this Oni series takes risks; by willfully addressing controversial subjects with equal parts reckless abandon and cartoonish flippancy, sure! But also by daring to tell one of the most unique, and legitimately affecting love stories in comics today, with some of the most preposterous NSFW fuckery that has ever been committed to the page. I mean for both of those statements to be equally complimentary.
I should say, however, that I’m not talking about the ongoing relationship shared between our main protagonist (for lack of a better word) and the woman who has captured his heart, but rather the passion a creator has for the creative process. That is the real love story in The Auteur, and it’s told tremendously well because, and not in spite of how, ridiculously fucking absurd it is.
If it’s anything that issue four of this second series attests, it’s that Nathan T. Rex is obsessed with creating his idea of beautiful, such that he will do anything -- up to and including working with fucking nazis -- to see that idea come to fruition, even if it’s all just in his head. He is psychotic, obsessively narcissistic and unrepentantly amoral; and yet his passion, if not the character of the man that drives it, is endearing. That dichotomy is what makes this book such a dirty fucking high. And an absolutely captivating one.
The clean and poppy, yet grotesquely amoebic art from James Callahan continues to be the perfect accomplice to Rick Spears’ wet fever dream of dialogue; a combination which is deliriously metal. The two facets of this story also work together in the way every comic collaboration should; which is to say, inextricably.
One of the best examples of this is the development of Coconut’s character as we watch her evolve from a being of limited substance into one of pure, willful talent. Spears and Callahan do this in a scant three pages, and it is as hilarious as it is perilous, as bawdy as it is delicate, and altogether fucking exceptional -- just like this latest issue as a whole.
In short, and again, The Auteur: Sister Bambi #4 is the perfect comic book. It tells one of the most unique and harrowing supernatural adventure love stories I’ve ever seen in comics, while showing an inspired way to buck tradition and tell different stories in new and interesting ways.
And it does all of this while suplexing crazy murder zombie lions.