Review by Woodrow Phoenix
In this second huge hardcover omnibus Jaime Hernandez continues exploring the complex intersecting lives of his main character Maggie Chascarillo, her on-again, off-again love Hopey Glass, and the other love of her life, Ray Dominguez.
The first volume Locas ended with Maggie and Hopey finally reuniting after years of misadventures and misdirection had kept them apart. In Locas II that doesn’t remain fixed for very long and the two are soon pulled into other orbits. Hopey continues her unpredictable shenanigans with a whole slew of new fascinating characters including Negra, the daughter of horned billionaire H.R. Costigan and her mother Norma. Maggie dyes her hair blonde and does a few unpredictable things herself, one of which involves a figure from her past who you blinked and missed. Who is Tony ‘top cat’ Chase?
A big chunk of the stories in this volume delve into the past and fill out essential parts of the backstories for Maggie, Hopey, Ray, and Izzy, explaining the nature of those bonds that tie them together. We also get to understand a bit more about Penny Century. Of all Maggie’s friends she leads the most charmed of existences, and we finally see how she met H. R. Costigan, always ready to indulge her every whim – and she has plenty of them.
In the present, Hopey finally gets a real job, Maggie gets one too, and Ray meets the devastatingly attractive – and just plain devastating – Vivian Solis, aka The Frogmouth who is like a dark version of Penny, bringing chaos and quite real danger into his life.
Hernandez keeps mixing up the styles and tempos of the stories here, from a delightfully sweet pastiche of Hank Ketcham’s Dennis the Menace for a story of Maggie’s childhood, some bizarre and somewhat sinister dream sequences as Maggie battles darker forces in her life, to grim, seedy violence from the crooked and dangerous people that orbit around the Frogmouth. The drawing just gets better and better, as the stories grow more complex his line evolves to match them in beauty and elegance. His black and white compositions never fail to be less than gorgeous. This is incredibly involving, expert work from a creator on top of his game. Hernandez can evoke more interest and emotion from ink drawings of two people in an empty room than most film and television directors can manage with superstar actors and multi-million-dollar budgets. It’s even more amazing to realise that he has maintained this incredible standard of consistent brilliance for over two decades, and this work is worthy of every accolade going. Anyone interested in the heights comics can reach in the hands of a master should be reading this book and the one before it.
As with the first omnibus volume Locas, this second volume is not an exhaustive reprint of every Hernandez strip from Love and Rockets; only those stories related to Maggie are collected here. Many additional stories featuring other characters can be found in the paperback collections Penny Century and Esperanza. There are also smaller books with selected episodes from Locas II in self-contained graphic novels: Dicks and Deedees, Locas in Love, Ghost of Hoppers and The Education of Hopey Glass.