In Bad Luck Chuck #1, the new title from writer Lela Gwenn on Dark Horse, we’re introduced to Tashi Charlene ”Chuck” Manchester, a walking bad luck magnet. So much so, in fact, she’s managed to turn it around into a pretty lucrative business prospect.
A new client contracts Chuck’s “disaster on demand” service in this energetic debut. However, her new customer may not be on the up-and-up.
The writing in Bad Luck Chuck #1 is fun, above all else. The work is extremely energetic, pushing the story forward at high pace from the beginning.
Chuck is a fun character, embodying a lot of your classic, low-rent P.I. tropes. She’s cynical, blunt, and seemingly only motivated by cash. As for her powers, they’re not so much her own “bad luck;” rather, bad luck seems to happen to those around her, and she uses that to her advantage. What differentiates her from a character like Domino, though, is that Chuck’s powers seem genuinely supernatural. So much so, that she surrounds herself with rabbits’ feet, clovers, and other charms, just to keep it under control. It’s an interesting concept, always keeping an element of spontaneity and unpredictability in the story.
While Bad Luck Chuck #1 is a fast-paced story, that can actually work to its disadvantage at times. Primarily, there’s the fact that the book doesn’t really establish the persona of our lead. We know she has her powers, but we don’t get much else as far as motivation, background, or personality.
Certain plot threads seem a little underdeveloped or arbitrary at points. For example, why Chuck’s new client chose her is not really clear. Then, later in the book, Chuck’s charge seems indifferent about leaving her adopted “home.”
Matthew Dow Smith’s artwork is charming in Bad Luck Chuck #1. He employs a sketchy, rough look to the book, which works alongside the tone of the storytelling.
You lose a degree of detail with the sketchier style, and some poses may feel a bit awkward. However, it’s a nice effect. The artwork offers an impression, rather than a literal recreation of life, and it’s pleasing to the eye.
The color work by Kelly Fitzpatrick works nicely alongside Smith’s pencils. The colors appear flat at first glance, complimenting the sketchy art. Upon closer inspection, though, readers can pick up on more subtle details of Fitzpatrick’s work, especially in illuminating characters’ faces.
Bad Luck Chuck #1 is a solid start to this new series. While the details might be a bit fuzzy, the larger work is a fun, fast-paced, and engaging read.