"Lola XOXO #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Aspen Comics
Written and Illustrated by Siya Oum
2014, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 21st, 2014
Lola has set out on her own to find her parents that she hasn't seen in years. She doesn't even know for sure if they're alive after a series of nuclear attacks ravaged the world. Now she's venturing across the land once known as the United States to try and track down her mother and father. As she's been protected for the past few years by a kind military man, can she fend for herself in this dystopian world? The answer seems to be “Yes”, as she can kick some serious ass in Lola XOXO.
While the first issue of Lola XOXO focused solely on the title character and how and why she's setting out to find her parents, this one branches out a bit, showing a bit more of the world around her. One thing I didn't realize after reading the debut issue is that she's in New York. When the flashback shows her plane landing, it's in Dayton, Ohio, and she sees news broadcasts showing mushroom clouds over NYC. Apparently she made it all the way to the east coast on land, which is in the opposite direction from where her parents are.
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A new group of characters is introduced in a form of a gladiatorial arena in Central Park. People are forced to battle lions for the amusement of the crowd thanks to a tyrannical bastard named Huntington. Monarch is one such combatant and has had enough, so he breaks free with a few friends and goes on the run. Of course, his crowd runs into Lola and the gang she's shacked up with. This meeting is interesting because it shows the humanity in Lola. She is capable of killing but doesn't see the need to do so. I'm sure she's seen her share of death growing up in this world, so she doesn't want to add to it. Time will tell if this is a strength or a weakness.
The addition of these other characters shows how some of the other survivors have been getting by since the nuclear apocalypse occurred. Not everyone had a great father figure looking out for them. Others were alone and grew up on the streets, scavenging for supplies to stay alive.
Siya Oum continues to provide dynamite artwork on Lola XOXO. My one qualm with her work on the first issue is that everyone is almost too pretty. Lola and the gang she joins up with still fit that criteria, but Monarch and his crew show the other side of the coin. They're battered and bloody, barely scraping by. Monarch is depicted with a hooded trench coat and gas mask. Kami, another member of his group, looks like a female Casey Jones from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now that Lola has a chance to get her hands dirty in the real world, I'm looking forward to what else might be lurking in the shadows.
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This issue also features seven variant covers, all but one of which was done entirely by Oum. The last one was drawn by her and Joe Benitez. Each cover is pinup worthy, depicting Lola in a variety of poses, but never in an overtly cheesecake fashion. The main cover features a group shot, like a classic “floating heads” movie poster. It reminds me of an Indiana Jones picture with the desert background.
Lola XOXO is beginning to branch out into the big bad world. She has been protected from some of the harsh realities out there, but now she's coming face-to-face with them. She's facing them down with bravery, providing readers with a strong female character that can stand on her own without relying on anyone else to help her up.