Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity #1
Words and Art by Brandon Graham
Review by Joey Braccino
This book is wacky in that fantastical, splendidious, tons-of-puns word-play sort of way. With this Image relaunch, Brandon Graham reintroduces the post-apocalyptic, pseudo-Eurasian wonderland full of bright colors, “Over Bering” entendre and innuendo, sex, smokes, and squids that he first created back in Oni Press’ 2007 graphic novel, Multiple Warheads. I reiterate: Graham clearly created this world. Each panel on each page is densely packed with meaningful wordplay, heavy and hilarious iconography, and socio-cultural commentary; it’s apparent that Graham is having fun putting this book together. And clocking in at 48 psychedelic pages, Multiple Warheads is definitely fun for the reader as well.
The book follows two storylines: first, Sexica and Nikoli (who’s a werewolf, btw) are roadtripping away from the recently destroyed Dead City (the sky fell on it) toward the Impossible City (where it’s possible there might be more delicious Brunx for ingestion); second, Nura Blue, an organ trafficker, rides her semi-conscious motorcycle across the countryside in search of a forced immortal baron whose head and limbs miraculously grow back. There are also anthropomorphic cows and frogs, cyber-tronic bird things, and gigantuan olyphant-esque walking-castles. There are also also cigarettes that play music, posters of Mao, and pastries called “Kreme de la Kremlin.” It’s a post-modern pastiche of ideas and images and icons and ideals that mix together into an almost comprehensible collage of communism and calisthenics, sex and swordplay, politics and pun-ditry. Did I mention the organ trafficking? It ties Sexica and Nura together, and promises to bring the two story-lines crashing into one another in coming issues!
I picked up the book because the artwork reminded me at once of Gene Luen Yang’s cartooning on American Born Chinese and Chris Ware’s densely populated, deceptively complex paneling from Jimmy Corrigan. It looks simple at first glance, but upon closer inspection, your eyes and brainwaves are bombarded constantly with visual, mental, and emotional stimuli.
Pick this book up. It’ll take a while to get through because it’s so out there and so crammed with playful subtext, but it’s well worth multiple reads. “Sputz.”