Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 7 (2/10) -- Maintenance, Vol. 3 by Massey and Rodriguez

I'm no longer entirely sure why or how I got this book -- it might have been part of the stack I brought back from Eisner judging, almost a year ago -- but it was short, it looked funny, and I'm always trying to read my way into new corners of the comics field. And so I found myself reading the third collection of the Maintenance comic, published by Oni Press, written by Jim Massey, illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez, and entitled "Fighting Occupants of Interstellar Craft." (And I immediately wondered if "Fighting" was a modifier for "Occupants" or acting as a verb for a pseudo-sentence -- turns out, it's the latter.)

Maintenance is set deep in the bowels of TerroMax, Inc., an international conglomerate of evil geniuses bent on world domination -- a cross between a think-tank, Monsters, Inc., and Dr. Evil's minions (without any obvious super-genius world dominator at the helm, at least in this book). Our heroes are not evil world dominators, but two janitors: Doug and Manny. Doug is the tall one, who I think is meant to be more of a slacker than the dark-and-handsome type, and Manny is the short dumpy one, and he -- in the eternal way of short, dumpy heroes -- is slightly slow, deeply sweet, and in love with the requisite unattainable gorgeous female. (He's not quite a Lennie Small, but he has tendencies in that direction.)

That female is Mendy, the receptionist for TerroMax, and she's been traded to some nasty aliens in return for advanced technology -- so, once Doug and Manny realize that's why she's missing, they gather up some allies and tech and scoot off in their own (borrowed) flying saucer to Save the Girl.

I won't tell you how it ends...but you can guess that for yourselves; this is a light-hearted adventure series, somewhere in tone between Austin Powers and Galaxy Quest. From a quick websearch, I see that there haven't been any new issues of the series since the ones collected here, but there are two previous collections. (And all three of them are cheap: $9.95 for over a hundred pages of black-and-white comics.) So, if the idea is appealing to you, you can get the whole shebang for a shade under $30 (or less, if you buy from a comic store that gives you a discount).

Maintenance isn't great, but it's a solidly professional series that's always amusing and rises to the level of quite funny several times. And the concept is wonderful -- easy to understand, but just different enough to give Massey and Rodriguez room to tell entertaining stories with an array of highly colorful characters. There are much, much worse comics than this beloved by hundreds of thousands on a weekly basis...but I name no names.

Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
Listening to: Cruiserweight - When Will You Dig?
via FoxyTunes

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