I actually had more books from publishers outside Marvel and DC than from either of those two in this last bunch. Not by a lot, we're talking 4 books to 3, but it's still atypical enough I noticed. Here we have two different books, both starring female leads who are going to have to make some decisions about their careers.
Wynonna Earp #2, by Beau Smith (writer), Lora Innes (artist), Jay Fotos (colorist), Robbie Robbins (letterer) - I feel as though Wynonna must lose whatever is on that string around her neck all the time. Just seems like it would break really easily during strenuous activity like fighting werewolves.
So Mars Del Rey has his illegal organ selling operation inside a milk processing plant, and he's planning to ship out a bunch of brains to all the top presidential candidates. Earp's boss, unsure of who inside the plant is actually a bad guy and who is just someone paying bills by working at a milk plant, tries to keep Wynonna from going guns blazing. But if that's the case, he ought to keep closer eyes on her, because she and this John Henry guy quickly steal a milk truck, drive in, and start a gunfight. Basically because Henry told her everyone in town is a "Chupacabra", meaning part of the demon cartel. Which kind of forces Xavier to send his guys in, which leads to casualties, and so even though Mars is captured, Wynonna still gets chewed out.
I was surprised Mars del Rey was captured so quickly. I had expected he'd be the main foe, but apparently he has a brother. So maybe Bobo will be the main antagonist. Either way, I don't mind the pace. there's a definite sense of forward movement to the book a lot of other things I've read could stand to have. It seemed a little convenient that everyone in the milk plant was a bad guy, but I guess Smith wanted to make the point that Wynonna needed the assurance there wouldn't be innocent bystanders before she went in. I'm just not convinced John Henry is trustworthy enough to act strictly on his say-so.
There are a couple of times I thought Smith tried for some clever wordplay, but he was reaching a bit. Mars' line that, 'It appears my gambling buddy has dumped Lady Luck and taken up with Lady Law. That choice will be his Dead Man's Hand,' was a bit much. I appreciate the effort - I'm always up for a good turn of phrase - but sometimes it just isn't there. More good than bad, though, and a few lines that made me laugh.
There are a few places where Innes' characters have some odd postures and positions. As the gunfight breaks out, Wynnona's on top of the truck blazing away. That's fine, no concerns there. But Henry is down on the loading dock, seemingly not having drawn his guns, and walking like he's doing this odd little strut. It's mostly with people walking that something feels off to me. Innes' facial expressions and body language are excellent. The scared, confused look on Fred's face when he reaches the top of the semi, and finds no Wynonna. Wynonna's calm manner leaning on the milk truck window to convince the guy at the gatehouse to let them in. Innes really seems to like having something going on with Henry's hat. Either he's tipping the brim, or someone else is messing with it, or he's holding onto it to keep it from blowing off. Which is good. My experience with wide-brim hats is they are prone to getting knocked off. Or maybe mine was just poorly fitted.
Mary is growing increasingly dissatisfied with her life in the Butterfly Gang. Coco is getting increasingly sadistic, seemingly delighting in any opportunity to hurt people as a way to achieve objectives. The group is certain they have a mole who leaked the whole "rob the orphanage building fund" scheme, but fortunately Mary is smart enough not to give herself away. Not that I think she has much to worry about from this band of dopes. The same can't be said for Fred, aka Mannequin, who the gang found. In desperation he astral projected, but then they just shattered his body. So Mary tries her best to put the pieces back together, and with a lot of tape and super glue, it works.
We also learn her roommate has been honing her power to produce carrots. Now her carrots are alive. They have limbs, and faces, and can cry when people lose their shit at the sight of a tiny, smiling, waving carrot, because what the hell? I mean, I feel bad for the carrot, because it was trying to be friendly and Mary got a horrified look, then ran into her room to put someone's corpse back together with office supplies. But seriously, that's weird and terrifying. I don't want tiny carrots roaming my apartment, I don't care how helpful they are now. They'll watch some TV and end up like that A.I. Microsoft put online that turned into a fascist racist in like 5 minutes. Then where are you?
It's interesting that Gudsnuk draws more detailed faces for what I assume are one-off characters. The son of the guy who owns the pizza place, the random wealthy guy they rob, the old lady Coco was threatening to try and get into the vault. The recurring characters tend towards simpler designs, a lot fewer lines, and I don't know if Gudsnuk does that simply as a time-saving thing, or if there's a distinct point. Like these random characters aren't really part of this story or world, they've just briefly intersected with it, so they don't look like they fit. I was toying with the idea that they're meant to look more realistic, kind of that reminder that even if you're just doing to "fun" crime Mary wanted to do, you're hurting actual people. But I doubt that fits with the overall tone of the series. Probably just me projecting. Besides, when I see those characters, I'm mostly struck by how strange they look, compared to everyone else in that world.
I continue to enjoy the book immensely. It has that silly tone that makes the moments of genuine emotion work as a counterpoint.