The subtitle of Pineapple Jesus #4 is “Oops! All Battles!” Which is accurate, but independent creator Pedro Camargo might be selling the issue a bit short. Having established itself as a bizarre investigation comic for the first three issues, number four changes pace by tearing down everything in sight. People get punched through buildings, intestines go flying, and a man slams craters into the ground with his butt — all with the series’ signature sense of bizarre humor.
About Pineapple Jesus #4:
Pineapple Jesus is a series about a man named… well, Pineapple Jesus. A man with paper hands, electric ears, and a roller-skate elbow, all of which make him the perfect fit for an abnormal investigations office. But what starts as a routine investigation into a curse in a remote village escalates into PJ fighting for his life against a miniature moon. Meanwhile, a shapeshifting demon takes PJ’s absence as an opportunity to launch an attack against his investigations office. All that stands between the workplace and total destruction is the office’s surly freeloader, who quickly reveals why they keep him around.
After three issues of investigation and set-up, Pineapple Jesus #4 explodes into all-out action. But the writing behind it remains strong, especially since the issue uses a well-proven approach seen in plenty of superhero or shonen comics: having two people with wild, specific powers try to out-think each other. And the powers on display here don’t disappoint. PJ describes himself as having “Paper hands, electric ears, and a roller-skate elbow.” All of which he’ll need to fight a giant, moon-shaped man with his own gravitational pull. It’s deeply silly stuff, but presented in a tone that manages to never descend into outright parody. The fights are genuinely exciting, carried by protagonists with an earnest belief in helping people, even if that means getting into a fistfight with a shapeshifting eight-year-old.
Pineapple Jesus likes its storytelling simple, straightforward, and neat. Three or four rectangular panels per page leave plenty of room for Camargo’s drawings to breathe. Thick linework with clear, readable poses make it easy to follow the action. All of this would work nicely in any fight comic, but in Pineapple Jesus, it’s a necessity to keep the characters from getting lost in lovingly drawn piles of guts, rubble, and slime. Because after the relative restraint of the first few issues, this is a comic that loves blowing things apart. The main fight takes place on a city block reduced to a layer of debris stretching as far as the eye can see. Of course the villain can stitch himself together after getting torn apart. And of course the hero punches with enough force to blow perfect, round holes in flesh. It’s a knock-down, drag-out, gross-out slugfest of a comic.
The character designs also deserve special mention for bringing together what could easily be a hodgepodge of silly concepts. PJ’s powers have already been mentioned, but there’s also his associate, Anchovy Albatross, who rocks parasite arms, screws for ears, and a tiny parachute on his back. It definitely helps that the two are presented as stitched together Frankenstein-like creatures, with origins shrouded in mystery aside from a casual comment about “spending too much time buried underground.” But then, the two look practically staid next to the many-eyed, drooling shapeshifter, or a man swollen into the shape of a moon. In a world of absurdities, it’s PJ that ends up playing the straight man. Roller-skate elbow and all.
Camargo’s lettering keeps the focus on clarity with a tall, all-caps font. But it’s in the sound-effects where he really gets to cut loose. The moon-man’s cries of “MOOOOOON” warble between letters large and small, and each “Splosh” or “Splat” gets shaky, wet lettering.
Pineapple Jesus #4 is gleeful, destructive romp that also happens to be a great culmination of all the issues that have come before. Which doesn’t make it a great jumping-on point, but that’s hardly a problem when all available issues are at the same place, going for a “pay-what-you want” price. They can be found at Camargo’s Ko-fi Shop. The price is in Brazilian dollars, so make sure to Google the conversion rate.