Maria M. Vol. 1 & 2

Fantagraphics. (Love & Rockets). Oct. 2019. 270p. ISBN 9781683960164. $29.99. Rated: Mature. crime fiction
Hernandez (Love and Rockets Library. Vol. 14: Three Sisters) brings consummate craftsmanship and unparalleled storytelling skills to this sordid noir tale about a beautiful femme fatale. After Maria’s acting career stalls, she resorts to appearing in fetish films to survive until meeting and marrying a wealthy older man whose ladies lingerie company serves as a front for a criminal enterprise existing at the intersection of the drug trade and Latin American politics. Life as a trophy bride suits Maria just fine, even as she finds herself entangled with her husband’s two grown sons—cold, calculating Herman, and stoic, thoroughly deadly Gorgo, who loves her with all his heart and devotes himself to ensuring that she remains safe when the family is drawn into war with their enemies. This new edition contains the first part of the story, originally published in 2013, as well as, for the first time, the second, concluding chapter in a single volume.
VERDICT Some fans might miss the emotional intricacies present in much of Hernandez’s best work, but the combination of classic cartooning and cinematic storytelling, as well as graphic sex and violence, pushed to near surrealistic extremes, should satisfy most devotees and inspire the creation of even more.

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