Hopeless Savages remains one of my favorite books simply for its exuberant punk family dynamics, youngest daughter’s Zero’s creative (non)swear words, and tribute to the power of music. In this second volume, it also made me get all mushy. This time around, instead of the wacky hijinks involving the rescuing of kidnapped parents and the return of one brother from the yuppie dark side, the focus is on romance and relationships. Zero, usually so unflappable, is zinged by cupid in the form of a bespectacled Ginger, a boy who refreshingly doesn’t think Zero’s a freak or a celebrity notch on his belt. Unfortunately for Zero, she’s also being followed by a TV camera crew, part of a reality show filming her entire family (sound familiar?), as if high school wasn’t enough of a mine field all on its own. On top of all of that, Zero’s mom, Nikki, is inexplicably sniping at everything Zero does, her motherly instincts suddenly in overdrive. After numerous embarrassing incidents and a few acts of vandalism, can Ginger and Zero still find love? As members of the family weigh in on the perils and joys of love, from family bonds to romantic thunderbolts, the artwork shifts from O’Malley’s simple but endearingly angled lines to flashbacks from guest artists Watson, Clugston-Major, Norrie, and Dodson. The overall style of O’Malley’s work too me a while to get used to, though in the end I loved it and was impressed by the economy of line to create such a variety of expression. The writing, always with Van Meter, was note perfect.
Hopeless Savages, vol. 2: Ground Zero
by Jan Van Meter
Art by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Christine Norrie, Catherine Norrie, Chynna Clugston-Major, and Terry Dodson
Oni Press 2003