Rocco Vargas 2: The Whisperer Mystery

Writer / Artist
Rocco Vargas 2: The Whisperer Mystery
Rocco Vargas the Whisperer Mystery review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Catalan - 0-87416-096-0
  • Volume No.: 2
  • Release date: 1985
  • English language release date: 1990
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

With his massive chin, thin moustache and tall build, Rocco Vargas stands out even in a world of retro-futuristic glamour, and lives up to the looks, being an all-action adventurer, a prestigious club owner and a successful science fiction and crime novelist. That’s not him on the sample art. The Robert Mitchum caricature is Archie Cooper, a down at heel private detective who narrates his own novel in his head to accompany his investigations, in which Rocco soon becomes involved.

Daniel Torres has toned down the lurid colours used on Triton, but otherwise this is much the same high-octane, head-rush adventure accompanied by solid stylised cartooning. Cooper is hired to say a single sentence to a shopkeeper in the warehouse district, and all hell breaks loose just as Rocco passes by. Torres throws a whole lot more in, aquatic lizard assassins, a neat robot and conjoined twins as police commissioner just the beginning. Rocco is plagued by the gung-ho heroism of former friend Chico Panama, and we’re introduced to the most astounding disguise artist.

As before, the detail Torres works into his art astonishes. The locations provided as scene-setting panels are phenomenal, packed with exotic architecture, aliens and wonderfully designed flying cars. What ranks this higher than the already impressive Triton is the writing being more sophisticated. It features a plot that throws in some wild curves and gives some of the cast more dimensions than previously, while Cosmo the robot is an engaging addition to the supporting cast, a sort of more action-oriented R2-D2, but designed with distinctive features bringing Mickey Mouse to mind. All in all, a great success.

Because the colour’s been muted, there’s not that much difference between the look here and that as seen in the 1997 Rocco Vargas collection combining four adventures. The difference there is that’s a new and much improved translation from the original Spanish, which wasn’t the case for the earlier Triton. That collection also features the next graphic novel in the series, Saxon.