|Multiple Warheads #1: The FallBy Brandon GrahamOni Press – saddle stitched, $5.99|
If I had had $120 to spare last night, an original page of Multiple Warheads would have been mine. I was admiring them at the release party my local comic book shop, Floating World Comics, was throwing for Multiple Warheads author, Brandon Graham. Graham was in attendance, as was his roommate, Corey “Rey” Lewis of Sharknife fame, and when I presented him with a copy of Multiple Warheads to sign, he asked me what I’d like him to draw in it. “I don’t know,” I said. “What do you like to draw in the books?” He gave me the choice of a cute girl, a monster, or a robot. This boded very well for the contents of his new book. I chose the girl.
Graham’s style is cartoony and his figures cute and sexy. Multiple Warheads reveals a lot of influences in common with Lewis’ work, including manga and especially graffiti and video game aesthetics. However, Graham uses a thinner, much more consistent line and makes more limited use of greytones and off-kilter layouts, creating a less frenetic and cluttered page.
The book is in the same format as Lewis’ Peng and benefits from the standard-sized pages. Oni’s other series of the same length and pricepoint, Love as a Foreign Language and Love the Way You Love, are both serialized in digest format, with spines. Considering that they’re eventually collected into digest format anyway, I’d prefer this format for the single issues. Anyway, I’m glad that Multiple Warheads is presented this way, because the size really gives Graham’s art space to breath (I think that Sharknife was hurt by its size, even smaller than Oni’s usual digest format).
The story concerns Sexica, a designer organ smuggler, and her werewolf boyriend, Nikoli, trying to get by in a walled-in, neo-Soviet city full of aliens and robots. The title refers both to the many rockets that seem to be lodged into everything, and the extra wolf penis that Sexica has sewn onto Nikoli, making the wolf “part of him.” That detail, inspired by something an elderly Chinese cab driver said to him, is representative of the kind of unusual outlook and humor Graham brings to the book.
It’s self-contained, but also the first of a planned series of stories, so a lot of the book is given over to familiarizing readers with the world of Multiple Warheads. The first eight pages consist of Sexica approaching the city from the desert, while narration fills in details on her, the Dead City, and the aftermath of Wolf War III. The pacing is easygoing throughout, providing time to take in the technology and culture of the city and spend time with the characters while they aren’t up to much, so we’ll care more later when more’s at stake.
Overall, it’s hard to tell much about where the story will go from this issue, but the characters are endearing and the world is compelling, so I’m interested to see what becomes of Sexica and Nikoli’s ambition to leave their current lives and head for the Impossible City. Even if I weren’t, I’d be back for more of the unique and wonderful artwork. Wish I’d had that $120.
Note: The cover above is changed slightly in the published version: The logo is different and now says “Multiple Warheads” instead of “Multiple Warhedz,” so my spelling throughout the review is correct.