Pullbox Review: Going to the Chapel 3 (13 out of 13!)

Writer:  David Pepose

Art:  Gavin Guidry

Colors:  Liz Kramer

Letters:  Ariana Maher

Covers By:  Emily Pearson, Maan House & Gavin Guidry

Publisher:  Action Labs

Available:  November 6

Price:  $3.99

And I thought my wedding had problems—and all that happened to us was it rained, the justice of the peace (who’d worked on the Jerry Springer Show the week before, we found out later) filed the certificate in the wrong county, and I got hit in the face with a pie (weird family tradition—don’t ask).  Emmy Anderson’s nuptials, though—that li’l shindig takes the cake!

But not, so far, the $250 million dollar sapphire…

After an abbreviated break, David Pepose, Gavin Guidry and crew are back with Going to the Chapel issue 3, and the Ocean’s 5½ (sorry, but these goofs don’t hold a candle to Danny Ocean) meets Arrested Development meets Wedding Crashers in the middle of a Quentin Tarantino joint mashup takes a bit of a turn to the serious. 

In issues one and two, we got the fun introductions, the chaos and a big pile of back story, leaving us wondering where on God’s green acre this was all heading.  Well, in issue three, Pepose is funneling it all back down.  Things—while still an angry beehive of chaos—are settling into a coherent arc.  Crises approach—and are met.  Families align, and arm themselves.  Those cops outside?  More or less an afterthought:  they’re the least of the Bad Elvis Gang’s problems.

And Emmy, finally, makes a choice.

Oh, and the Andersons?  They go bat-guano crazy.  Like, even more.  Really—trust me on this one.

As Paul suggested in his reviews of the first two issues of Chapel, David Pepose revels in taking tropes and stereotypes and turning them on their heads.  An old bitty of a grandma, confined to her wheelchair?  Nah—she’s a Vietnam vet with more hutzpah than a gaggle of wrestlers.  A murderous thug, with “H-E-L-L” tattooed on his knuckles?  He’s a kid-loving rifle coach who…ok, doesn’t mind killing the occasional mook.  What Pepose is also good at—and what makes his books (you might have heard of Spencer & Locke; I think Paul might have mentioned it once or eleven times, and with really, really good reason) such an enjoyable read—is that he’s an excellent tale-spinner.  Having introduced a fun setting, a goofy-while-still-being-relatable cast and an outlandish but thoroughly enjoyable plot, he deftly injects just enough heart into his protagonists and his story to make you actually feel for them, to elevate the book from mere (though again, highly entertaining) slapstick to an engaging story.

That ability is on ample display here in issue 3, especially in the last half.  And that’s all I’ve got to say about that (‘cause I ain’t giving away any spoilers!).

Guidry and Kramer continue to elevate their game: for all the chaos that Pepose presents, they are able to, with line and color, set and maintain (and when necessary, shift) the proper tone and feel.  As I mentioned, this one’s a little more serious than the first two, and the art feels that way: it’s a little darker, a little more shaded in spots.  The angles and perspectives Guidry employs and the colors Kramer uses suggest just enough of the isolation and confusion Emily is feeling as she is pushed toward making her decision.  It’s subtle, but all the more effective for it.  As I looked over the book on the second reading (I blazed through it the first time, always a mark of a story I’m enjoying), with a more critical eye, I couldn’t miss it. 

These folks are sneaky.  Draw you in, thinking you’re just having a light-hearted, good time romp, no deep thoughts or darker feelings, and all of a sudden WHOOMPH.  Big freakin’ case of the feels, right outta left field.  Jerks.

Anyway…

I have to say, I’m really excited to do this review—because I finally get to put a letterist in the spotlight.  When you get your copy (and we know you will, so quit fighting it), look to page 18, bottom panel, and you get to see the difference good comic book lettering can make.  It’s a perfectly-executed panel of quite possibly the most horrifying band of heroes ever assembled (think Arrested Development’s Bluth family meets Reservoir Dogs), having charged into the chapel proper from a side room to save the not-so-innocent damsel in distress.  What unifies and completes the image, however, is the arched “WABAMMM” in big lilac block lettering behind them.  As Paul has remarked before, letterers are by the nature of their work nearly invisible, typically only noticed when they make a misstep.  Hats off to Ariana Maher on this one though—she nailed it (as she has the entire series).

If you’ve not yet checked out Going to the Chapel (or Spencer & Locke, for that matter), you need to—it’s a hunka hunka burnin’…well, good time.  Catch issue 3 at your local comic shop (and if they don’t stock Action Lab books, it’s time to have a serious sit-down with those folks!), from Amazon or via Comixology.

Final Score: 13 (out of 13)

Review by Andy Patch, thePullbox.com

Buy issue #3 here

or pre-order the TPB

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