Sometimes, a new comic is introduced to the world that seemingly rewrites everything readers’ thought they knew about the medium. This new tale deconstructs a genre, turns all of the common tropes upside-down, and never plays by the “rules.” It is objectively exciting, unique, and edgy because of these traits. Nothing like it exists on this planet.
Yet, these are not attributes a work requires to be an entertaining read.
Boom Queens Vol. 2 shines because it delivers exactly what readers have come to expect of a “girls-with-guns” title. Written by Ramón Govea with illustrations from Chahine Ladjouze, Juan Castro, and Leonardo Paciarotti, Boom Queens follows the adventures of gun-toting trio Lola, K-lynx, and Antoinette on a mission to stop the cult-like anti-American bad guys from succeeding.
Govea’s Boom Queens is an explosive joyride that delivers on everything the cover art implies.
Comics are one of the few instances where making inferences by the cover alone is arguably acceptable. Vol. 2 of Boom Queens features our three protagonists situated at the forefront of an apparent wasteland (think Mad Max) under the semi-translucent image of a menacing man grasping a wine glass. Behind this long-haired fur-collared-vest wine-afficionado hangs a tattered American flag. K-lynx stands poised to fire her two-handguns at an unforeseen adversary. Antoinette, with her technicolor Mohawk and oversized fire-arm, leers over her shoulder delivering an absolute death stare. Meanwhile, Lola wields a tube of lipstick and a compact mirror. From the cover, the stage is set. The only thing missing is a caption featuring a clever pun about how these three women are going to wreak havoc on the patriarchy…
…and its all fantastic.
The first scene opens in the Hightower Hotel where some fierce-looking dudes are bracing for an upcoming confrontation with the protagonists. The first dialogue, spoken by backwards cap bad guy #1, delivers the volume’s first hint about Lola’s place in the story’s plot. “Don’t kill the redhead! Boss has plans for her.”
Apparently, Lola has a history with the villains. Is she on a revenge quest?
From that point, the story begins to provide everything one would expect in an action title. Antoinette throws a smoke bomb, the trio goes in guns blazing, and the steady supply of booms never really lets up. It is full throttle, accelerator-to-the-floor mayhem for the duration of the volume.
The villains are an eclectic bunch. Govea incorporates anthropomorphic warthogs (ala the classic Nintendo series Battletoads), ninjas, an old German man, and even a giant turtle just to name a few. Yes, at one point there is a colossal turtle that leaps out of the water to attack the protagonists. It is truly one of the least expected and most absurd moments in Boom Queens vol. 2. It is also undeniably awesome. Then, to crank up the ridiculousness one more level when it seems like it cannot ascend any higher, Antoinette unleashes a Randy Savage-esque elbow drop onto the beast’s head. Insert chef’s kiss.
More surprises lie in store for the reader albeit subtler by comparison. These include a fish being used to advance the plot in an unexpected way and some hints about the trio’s past.
Boom Queens vol. 2 is short and sweet. So, while this theoretically could hinder the story by not providing enough contexts for the character’s actions, it works reasonably well here. After all, if it has not been made clear, these girls are about causing organized mayhem and making things go boom. As long as they accomplish the aforementioned feat while mowing through a horde of baddies on the way, the story is almost secondary.
The artwork remains consistent throughout. Attention is paid to detail. The red of Lola’s hair is subdued in the dim lit corridors of the Hightower Hotel and noticeably richer under better lighting. Metal glistens and objects cast shadows. So, major props to Paciarotti .
All in all, Boom Queens vol. 2 delivers from start to finish. Whether its gun fights, swordplay, or enormous reptiles, it’s all here. Any fan of action titles will certainly enjoy Boom Queens and look forward to the next installment.