Monday, July 2, 2012

Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book 5

by Terry Moore

As much as I generally love Strangers In Paradise, there are many series, be they in comics, television, movies, or novels that sometimes simply go on too long.  Reading this collection, I kept thinking to myself that perhaps Moore should have finished his comic book romantic comedy sooner.

Actually, it's difficult to call this series a romantic comedy, as it touches on many other genres, most notably gangster-thriller.  When this book, the fifth of six, opens, we see what happened during David Qin's yakuza days, and learn why he chose that name for himself.  From there, we get a smattering of storylines that are picked up and dropped on a whim.

Katchoo and David are reunited, and possibly married.  They go to Las Vegas to visit Casey, who is now a showgirl, and end up helping her friend, who has a stalker.  Katchoo becomes a success in the art world, and opens her own studio.  Her sister, Tambi, becomes a government black ops operator.  Francine's mother reveals to the world that she used to be a pin-up girl, and decides to cash in on it.  Francine gets a tattoo.  Freddie falls for a medical examiner, who is working on a suicide bomber case that kind of disappears.  Strangely, and perhaps fatally for this book, Francine and Katchoo don't see each other until the very last few pages (of the SiP part - more on that shortly).

Moore is a master at character work, but characters aren't enough to keep a book going after the plot ends.  With each new chapter, it feels like he's casting about for a reason to continue, and only rarely finds it.  I hope that the next, final volume, has more substance to it.

A large chunk of this book is taken up with the collected, bizarre story of Molly & Poo.  This is another unrequited love story, written in prose by the character of Molly, who is trying to get her story published.  She loses it and kills her husband, and continues to write about these events as if she were a character in them, but in a story set 90 years prior.  This is a good showcase for Moore's sense of experimentation, but it ultimately didn't work for me, and I found myself skipping the prose parts.

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