multiple_warheadsSet in a chaotic, post-war, highly technological Russian landscape, Multiple Warheads follows Sexica, an organ smuggler, and her boyfriend, Nikoli, as they search for a better life in a city far from Sexica’s organ-smuggling ring. At the same time, Nik struggles with memories inherited from a werewolf and the deadly Nura fights her way to the bottom of a mystery involving an army of men who share the same face.

Like Graham’s earlier work, King City, Multiple Warheads engages in wordplay so lively that it’s almost manic. The hectic detail with which the creator populates his world often indulges in punnery for its own sake, leading to “Marx men” and “land-minds.” In fact, puns guide the story much more than the plot itself.

Many of Graham’s longtime fans—myself included—struggle to reconcile his skill, his fast-and-furious gags, and his visual mastery with his plot struggles. His books are well worth the read for their brilliant concepts and remarkable art, but it’s often hard to see where his stories end up, or even how they get there. This book is no exception. The two main storylines never tie together. They ramble into situations apparently designed for their pun factor and generally make very little sense. Both lean heavily on road trips, which are great for when you need things to happen without a significant plot structure, but otherwise tend to come across as fairly random. That said, the book definitely has an audience. It’s stylish, funny, clever, and original. Who cares if it doesn’t make a grain of sense?

This book features several graphic scenes that make it a poor choice for schools and even for younger teens, and the entire work is heavily sexualized. Several gags and puns refer to adult themes—even the main character’s name is Sexica. However, Graham approaches these themes with the same frenetic energy as the rest of the work and they only dominate the sections that deal with Sexica and Nikolai. He’s clearly trying to create a certain atmosphere. It’s fun, just not kid-friendly.

Multiple Warheads is an entertaining romp that will appeal most to fans of funny, smart sci-fi. It’s a definite recommendation for readers who liked Graham’s King City.

Multiple Warheads
by Brandon Graham
ISBN: 9781607068402
Image Comics, 2012

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