The Big Sleep (Errand Boys #4 Comic Review)

Written by D.J. Kirkbride
Drawn and Colored by Nikos Koutsis
Flatted by Mike Toris
Lettered and Designed by Frank Cvetkovic
Edited by Adam P. Knave & El Anderson
Cover by Nikos Koutsis & Mike Toris
Creative Consultant Erik Larsen

In issue four of Image Comics’ Errand Boys the Lopaz half-brothers make a shaky return home only to be faced with Ebb’s Finest, who have a laundry list of Jace’s transgressions and enough officers to round up even the most clever of evaders—which Jace is not. With Jace facing incarceration and Tawnk facing forced independence, what’s in store for the Lopaz boys?

In This Issue: If re-entry into Ebb’s atmosphere wasn’t difficult enough, Jace finds out that the cops are waiting for him at Bearrends HQ thanks to Bear surreptitiously opening the comms line to allow for the occupants of the ‘Bego to listen in on the police plan for Jace’s capture. A short and, for Tawnk, traumatic high-speed chase later, the elder Lopaz half-brother is apprehended, and things kick into overdrive. The trial isn’t a trial as such, more just a formal sentencing. Between the water-damaged Hitball cards from the errand in issue one—the owners of which are a pair of vindictive so-and-sos—and Jace’s penchant for speeding, rule-bending, and general gray area existing, he is sentenced to a “one for ten incarcersleep”; he’ll be put into stasis for a calendar year, but his body will age by ten. While saying their goodbyes, Jace and Tawnk have a rather emotional exchange. Everything is very loving until Tawnk laments his own fate which makes something inside Jace snap and he lets loose a particularly hurtful tirade before being dragged off by Ebb’s Finest. Max, Jace’s ex-girlfriend, and Bear try to comfort the boy, but the damage is done.

In his year-long sleep, Jace re-lives his life as it could have been had his father chosen to continue to support Jace and his mother rather than abandoning them for his new wife and baby Tawnk. In his dream, they all live together as one happy extended family. His mother doesn’t die. Tawnk grows up to look up to him. He has opportunities his real life never offered. When the year is up and Jace is pulled from stasis, he doesn’t want to go back to reality.

Jace leaves the prison complex aged by ten years, and is met by Tawnk, aged only by one year but full-blown emo. It’s going to be an interesting adjustment.

My Two Cents: We finally get few properly touching ‘brother moments’ in this issue, which makes a change from the almost frenetic pace of the previous installments. That isn’t to say that there’s no action whatsoever—we had police chase right off the bat and a significant emotional outburst prior to Jace’s incarceration—but by comparison to what we’re used to with this series this issue is definitely relaxed. If you thought we spent a lot of time in Jace’s head in issue three, we spend even more time there this time around. Since he spend the second half of the issue in ‘incarcersleep’, we follow along in a re-living of his life—one which is vastly different from the way things panned out for Jace in actuality. The artist hit on a wonderful device for delineating reality from dream with a variation on television static showing the beginning and end of the sequence which I thought was really quite clever. This ten year dream seems to have a profound impact on Jace, and with any luck we’ll see this newfound understanding of the options to make changes to his life going forward in the fifth and final installment next month.

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Elizabeth Fazzio
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org
Elizabeth Fazzio
Summary
The problems with the writing in this series remain exactly that in issue four, so there's not much point in my delving into that again. The story took a slower pace in this issue which was absolutely necessary due to the more sensitive tone, and there were a couple of excellently executed moments. Personally I feel that the major outburst from Jace just before he is hauled off to serve his sentence was too abrupt, however. It needed more build to make it believable—it goes from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye and the catalyst comes from left field, which makes it feel contrived, as though they couldn't think of a better way to move the characters' psyches toward bereft (for Tawnk) and remorse (for Jace). It did redeem itself in the final panels, though, and overall there was significantly more feeling to this issue than the previous three.
Good
  • Varied and interesting universe inhabitants
  • Quirky artistic details
Bad
  • Ineffective attempt at dialect OR possible errors in word usage(?)
  • Overworked attempt at vernacular
  • Clunky, stilted dialogue and narration
7
Good
Art - 9
Story - 7
Writing - 5
Predictability - 7
Written by
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org

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