Saturday, March 2, 2013

Templar, Arizona Vol. 2: The Mob Goes Wild

by Spike

I really enjoyed the first volume of Templar, Arizona, a webcomic that has been collected (so far) into four slim volumes.  The series is about the very strange town of Templar Arizona, where society has taken a few different turns from ours'.

This second volume continues to give us a tour of Templar. When the book opens, a rally for the Reclamation movement gets disrupted by the Cooks.  Reclamation is a social movement concerned with rehabilitating and squatting in abandoned and under-utilized industrial spaces, similar to the movements that have swept through Latin America.  The Cooks are a mysterious groups of anarchists who enjoy disrupting and escalating protests for their own, unknown purposes.

Someone from this rally, most likely a Cook, ends up on the ledge of our point of view character, Benjamin's, window.  He talks his way into the apartment, smearing riot police "smelly paint" on Ben's face, and marking his window with a mysterious vinyl sticker.

After this, we meet a number of new characters, as Ben, Scipio, and the loud-mouthed Reagan continue their usual dynamic of shock, disdain, and appeasement, and carry on across the city.  We meet people like Tuesday, a TV or radio star who likes to take off her clothes, Curio, her frenemy, and Sunny and Moze, who are in a band with the intellectually challenged Gene.  We also learn about Diesel, the Templar version of street hockey à la Thunderdome.

Spike has done a terrific job of developing these characters and imbuing Templar with so many interesting elements, that a clear plot is rather unnecessary.  This series reminds me a great deal of Carla Speed McNeil's phenomenal Finder saga, mostly because of the depth of thought put into social structures, and the casual, breezy style of the footnotes that add so much to my enjoyment of the book.  I really need to get ahold of the next two volumes...

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