Ingredients abound in The Sweetness, a new Z2 series from married team Miss Lasko-Gross and Kevin Colden. The story revolves around the ragtag group tasked with shipping space cargo consisting of humans and products alike, for the Intergalactic Bounty Service in a red-taped future age. Think Futurama mixed with the staff personalities of Clerks I and II and you’ve got a good bead on it. Combining feminist overtones, space smuggling, lethal bureaucracy, and gleeful raunch, the blend is eclectic–obviously–but not tiring in the least.
At no point while reading Sweetness did the elements feel anything but effortless. In less capable hands character interactions could have easily devolved into preachiness: the loose sexual appetite of one character could have been argued both for and against on her last night on the planet, but instead we see consenting adults (and a half, it seems) having the kind of fun bars are infamous for birthing–with no judgement attached; a shock collar and its button-holder could be used to heavily underscore the one-sided power of the sexes, but instead frailty and strength–and the personalities of those who possess them, regardless of their situation–are given the spotlight once the button is pushed; and most importantly, the women in charge–and make no mistake, they are in charge in Sweetness–are never written as so stoic or sexually unrestrained as to feel ham-handed. The work is honest about character. Period. And this trait saves the book from ever being cluttered up by all the pieces of the puzzle.
The whole package of Sweetness moves easy inside of an art style with no small resemblance to Nameless. The first few frames had me doing a double take, searching helmets for shamanistic protection graffiti. Even the novel approach to launching the spacecraft is something straight out of Morrison’s wheelhouse. But it’s here that the comparisons ceased for me.
The work became fun enough to stand on its own soon with its low-rent character viewpoints on high space concepts, and exploring the idea of a bottom rung of intergalactic commerce is what really sold me on this book. Case in point: The novice crew uses a D-Class ship for a 6 month voyage, traveling at SUB-lightspeeds. Throw in some crime elements, a playfully offbeat sense of humor, and what you end up with is a helluva ride.
Can’t wait for the next bite of The Sweetness.
The Sweetness #1 comes out from Z2 comics in June.