Helena Crash: Fueled by Coffee

Helena Crash: Fueled by Coffee
Helena Crash Fueled by Coffee review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: IDW - 978-1-68405-010-9
  • Release date: 2017
  • UPC: 9781684050109
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

The Earth Helena Crash lives on is one that’s deteriorated from today, extrapolating on poor ecological choices and the gap between rich and poor widening. Aliens are also commonplace, although more as background colour than story focus. That’s squarely on Helena, courier for hire when that job involves out-running and out-gunning marauding scavenger gangs in souped-up cars. They’re essential to a high octane adventure where classic designs merge with pimped-up horrors as Helena carries out her business, smuggling illegal coffee being a speciality.

Fabien Rangel Jr loves his Hong Kong action movies, and the future setting is just an exotic backdrop for the classic plot of loner against entrenched criminal organisations. Helena just wants to go about her lucrative business, but Rojo and the White Demon have other ideas, and they’re used to their whims being obeyed.

A great design sense to Warwick Johnson Cadwell’s cartooning is allied to enthusiasm and style. His pages look as if he’s enjoying the drawing so much he can’t wait to get to the next panel, so the illustrations are packed with loose, sketchy detail, some of it gloriously random, conveying Helena’s life lived at full pelt. The lack of shading and shadows makes the art very two-dimensional, but that’s a secondary concern with speed and action key.

Given the genre, there’s a predictability about how things play out, but a lot of fun in this love child of Kim Possible and Tank Girl. The exuberance of both creators transmits, and the contagious feeling carries Helena Crash a long way.