He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (Errand Boys #5 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

Older and, surprisingly, wiser, Jace Lopaz is out of incarcersleep and back on the job, but the previous tension between him and Tawnk remains. Do they go back to the way things were, or make a change?

In This Issue: In issue #5 Jace may be back to work, but there are new rules—rules set by Tawnk. “No Stealing” is the most important, and Bear, for reasons best known to him, is willing to humor the blue kid. Jace and Tawnk’s first errand is simple: Return the remains of a recently deceased Crystalline to her family on New Ebb. Well, okay, it sounds simple. Old Ebb ships aren’t welcome on New Ebb, and they will have to pass through Green Space in order to get there, which could mean any number of unpleasant altercations with space wildlife. Luckily for the Lopaz boys, the family of the Crystalline has provided the necessary entrance codes to get past the shields to New Ebb to make their delivery, so that at least shouldn’t be too tricky.

On the way, Jace and Tawnk make an impromptu stop at a Theian-Ebb Fusion food ship for some lunch. Tawnk takes the opportunity to ask if after he had left Jace’s mom, did Jace ever wonder about their dad’s new family? Jace, incarcersleep dreams of a different past still fresh in his mind, lets slip his disappointment and anger at having been left behind, causing Tawnk to confess to his deep-rooted dismay that he had always felt as if his older brother—half-brother—had hated him.

Jace tells Tawnk to get the rest of his noodles to go. They have a schedule to keep.

After a brief but reasonably terrifying altercation with a space manatee in Green Space, the Lopaz boys make it to New Ebb. Thankfully, the planetary shield code provided by the Crystalline clients checks out and they make it to the delivery coordinates without difficulty, taking in the beautiful scenery on the way. The Crystallines are appreciative of their efforts and this emboldens Jace to ask a question: Why was it so important to them to have the remains of their deceased sister back? She was dead, so what did it really matter? The Crystalline’s answer was simple.

“We find comfort in releasing our dearly departed into the ether so that they can always be with us. We breathe in and look up to celebrate the deceased’s life while mourning their passing. Do you not have such customs on our sister planet Old Ebb?”

They don’t, but it gives Jace and Tawnk an idea, which they take back with them.

My Two Cents: The shift towards a gentler and less frenetic feel from the end of issue four carried over into issue five, which was a relief—if we had been thrown headfirst back into crazy-space-shenanigans land the finale of this arc would have been pointless. The moments of connection between the characters (all of them, not just Jace and Tawnk) seem much more genuine and thoughtful. Even the errand Jace and Tawnk run has a profound subtext. That’s not to say that there isn’t a certain level of goofiness and action-centered endeavors (and a couple of thoroughly awkward panels in the Bearrands HQ men’s room) but they take a backseat to the humanity (Or possibly…sentient-being-ity?) of the story line as a whole.

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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
While issue five did retain one of the same problems I've cited all along with this series—specifically the over-labored vernacular—the narration and overall writing in this installment, I felt, was greatly improved. It didn't seem nearly as clunky and stilted as it has been in the previous four issues, so either I've gotten used to it or they've been working on it, and I think it might be the latter. There were a few moments of convenience and some places where a scene was rushed, but overall issue five felt like a marked improvement in the previous problem areas. The art and world-building were still very strong, and the vibrancy of color also remained. The book as a whole was much more cohesive than the previous installments, and if there is another arc in the works I hope it stays this way.
Good
  • Quirky artistic details
  • Fascinating color palate
  • Varied and interesting universe inhabitants
Bad
  • Overworked attempt at vernacular
  • Story is a bit predictable
7
Good
Art - 9
Story - 7
Writing - 6
Predictability - 6
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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