In this, the first collected volume of LOVE AND ROCKETS, the Hernandez brothers (Jaime, Gilbert, and Mario) explode on-page with all the vigor and zeal of their influences. A pop miasma that ricochets across thirty years of trash culture, MUSIC FOR MECHANICS reveals the brothers as distinctive voices within the comics medium, punk rock destroyers marrying the best bits of the past with the best energy of the future.
Mario, the least prolific of the brothers, has a few shorts here steeped in Philip K. Dick psychonoir. Gilbert's ultra-paranoid utopian nightmare Bem gets off to its start here, too, but by the end of the book we're treated to the first of his Palomar stories (the fictional Mexican town that would remain his focus for the majority of his 'half' of L&R).
The real stars of this book are Maggie and Hopey, the main players, sorta, of Jaime's Mechanics saga. Starting here, Mechanics feels as new and strange to we reading it as it must have to Jaime making it; by Volume 3, Mechanics jettisons lots of the science-fiction tropes on display here and zeroes in on becoming an emotionally rich social fiction.
And really, that's what LOVE AND ROCKETS is. Beyond the brothers' influences and tastes that span the map with joyous abandon, LOVE AND ROCKETS stands as a bountiful portrait of a very real, very human emotional landscape.
And it just might be the coolest comic ever made. So it has that going for it too, which is nice.
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.