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"Punk Mambo #4" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Valiant Entertainment


Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Adam Gorham
Colored by Jose Villarrubia
Lettered by Dave Sharpe
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on August 1st, 2019


Punk Mambo got desperate after she encountered Aguilliard, a man who acts as a black hole for magic. She barely makes it out of there alive, but that doesn't mean she's going to give up. If anything that just pisses her off even more. You know the saying about a woman scorn? Well, that goes double for a punk rock voodoo priestess.

Although Punk Mambo puts on an arrogant front, this recent battle strikes her to the core. She feels vulnerable for the first time in ages. This fight brings up all kinds of trauma that was buried down deep. This comes to a head in a telling sequence as she collects herself and regroups. Artist Adam Gorham shows how these dark memories are literally pulling her down, making her a pale imitation of the confident powerhouse she usually is. This is a version of herself few, if any, have ever seen. It humanizes her as well.

Click images to enlarge

Of course, this doesn't last long. Punk Mambo is able to overcome this wave of depression to soldier on. We see this as a transformation over a few pages. She uses her past as a fuel to the fire, refusing to let anyone make her feel that way again. Writer Cullen Bunn gives us some valuable insight into a side of the character we haven't seen before.

There's a grit to Punk Mambo brought on by colorist Jose Villarrubia. Yes, there's magic involved, but this isn't something out of Harry Potter. It's the darker side of magic, with back alleys and dirt under your fingernails. I guess it's more of the stuff down Knockturn Alley to keep with the Harry Potter analogy. In any case, the page comes alive when Punk Mambo taps into her powers. It's like she grabs onto an electric current and it sends a shockwave across the book.

This is doubly exciting because Punk Mambo isn't out to create a fancy light show or parlor tricks. She's pissed off and she wants to hurt the people that tried to hurt her. This leads to some of the most gruesome and frightening creations around. You will never look at a rag doll the same way after reading this book.

Click images to enlarge

This translates to the lettering as well. Dave Sharpe captures the abject fear permeating from Punk Mambo's victims as they prepare to meet their maker in an unlikely scenario. You fully understand the level of pain and anguish at work here from the way their cries of terror spiral across the page.

Punk Mambo #4 is the penultimate chapter of this mini-series and it certainly sets up one helluva climax. We've already gone through a whirlwind of terror. Judging by the cliffhanger ending, things are going to get crazy with the final issue. This book has explored the darker side of the Valiant Universe through the lens of an arrogant yet multi-faceted character. I hope this leads to further adventures with Punk Mambo in the near future.


Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
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Art: fourandahalfstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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