In practice, the loa are powerful spirits who command respect and service in humans. The titular character in Punk Mambo #1, the first chapter in the new five-part series from Valiant, offers them neither of these.
Punk Mambo uses her powers for profit on the streets of New Orleans. But, when one of the loa bonded to her is kidnapped, she heads off to track down the culprit.
Cullen Bunn weaves a fun, fantastic tale in Punk Mambo #1. Readers will pick up on some similarities to characters like John Constantine, only with a less self-serious tone. The series is a supernatural detective story, but it leans heavily on black comedy with a lively, madcap zeal. Beneath the humor, though, are the bones of a solid story.
Punk Mambo (real name Victoria Greaves-Trott) appeared in several Valiant titles in recent years, but new readers will have no problem picking up what the character is about. We know she’s snide, cynical, and much older than she appears. She also has some pretty incredible Voodoo-inspired powers, which she employs in a mercenary fashion. We get all the information we need, while avoiding a prologue-style info-dump.
Punk Mambo #1 functions as an excellent Act One for the larger story. It introduces the character, and also opens the door to a larger narrative, suggesting there may be some price to pay for her flippant attitude toward the powers she wields.
Adam Gorham provides some excellent artwork for Punk Mambo #1. He employs a variety of close-cropped and wider images, giving us variety while remaining visually cohesive. His character designs are appealing, opting for a lot of heavier, shadowy lines, which are complemented by vibrant color work.
Gorham uses detail very selectively. He often allows backgrounds to fade out, focusing attention on the characters without detracting from the visual effect. However, the details that are present feel very deliberate, creating some eye-catching images throughout.
Punk Mambo #1 is a great start to the new series, providing an entertaining story and alluring artwork. Highly recommended.