Review by Ian Keogh
Brad, Greg and Trent all have different reasons for needing to get away from the city for a while, and it just so happens Greg has a new Jeep. As the salesman tells him, it has a skid plate protecting the bottom of the car, so it’s an ideal opportunity to go off-road. Predictably enough, it’s not the adventure they anticipate.
Sean Gordon Murphy, or plain Sean Murphy as he was credited in 2011, seems to have invested a lot of himself in Trent, giving him a career as an artist and giving him the first person narrative, so make of that what you will. It’s Murphy’s first solo graphic novel, and there’s an appealing Jamie Hewlett style of goofiness to his art, which is looser than his later work, and sometimes drops into childlike cartooning for moments of explanation.
Given that all three major cast members are high on the dumb scale, when the inevitable happens none of them are well equipped to deal with it, but Murphy’s skilled enough to ensure this isn’t the comic equivalent of a slapstick movie. Each of the characters need some truths told to them, and each of the others has the perception and chops to tell it like it is. That’s the way it is with mates, even if they occasionally piss you off for saying it. Murphy keeps escalating the disappointment, so the result is still funny, but also an insightful character study, and really tightly plotted, the cause and effect neatly worked out and unpredictable.
For a first graphic novel it’s a hell of an achievement, wonder and laughter superbly drawn. And Murphy would become far better.