By Dustin Cabeal
Volcano Trash is one of those alternative worlds in which the future is dystopianish, but also full of joy and fun. It’s a world I would like to visit because it’s a bit carefree, very weird and there are robots that can transform.
Ben Sears crafts the world that’s set in Bolt City. The story begins with two cops hanging up wanted posters, which is a great and charming thing. They discuss the fugitives in the poster Plus Man and his robot friend Hank, to which we find going through a secret organization's headquarters having just heisted something. After a long sequence of events and much action, they make it out. They check their stolen goods and see that it’s a blackmail list of everyone on the take in Bolt City, rather than getting involved they get rid of the disk.
Eventually, the duo’s luck runs out, and they get arrested. Hank takes the fall, and Plus Man is released which sends him on a downward spiral. Thankfully his friend and wheelman Basil snaps him out of it. They’re going to break Hank out, but they’ll need some help from the most unlikely source.
The setting is fantastic. I don’t care if Bolt City is corrupt as fuck, I’d live there. There was something energetic about the city Sears has crafted. It was alive, but it never felt overcrowded. Plus Man is very straight forward with how he talks, but never surprises anyone. They never push him down when he asks a convenience store clerk if he knows how to break his friend out of jail. The clerk could have been passive aggressive or short with Plus Man, but instead, he humors him. Writing this way is some of my personal favorite, where the world seemingly has no consequences, but then acknowledges some for the sake of the story. For instance jail, but not rent or a job. There isn’t a focus on all the elements that make the world work, but it does work.
The artwork is fantastic. The linework is clean; the style is fresh and full of life. The art puts you in a good mood just by looking at it. The character designs and the clothing style of the world scream future, but past all at the same time. It’s like an Audio Lab bit with too many people singing, but you can’t help but appreciate how amazing it is at the same time. The coloring is soft but vibrant. The tones are all subtle and flat and yet add so much personality to the world. Strangely enough, the lettering all stands out. It looks all hand written which is my personal favorite. It adds so much more personality to the story and makes the word feel spoken.
I won’t pretend to understand what the title Volcano Trash means, but I will say that I loved every corner and page of this comic. I had no idea who Ben Sears was before Volcano Trash, but I will be paying close attention to his work going forward and you should too.
Creator: Ben Sears
Publisher: Koyama Press