In the lead-up to Young Liars ending on September 2 with issue 18, I will be rereading the 17 issues already out and discussing them at a rate of one issue per day. I haven’t reread any of these comics since they came out, so it should be fun. Spoilers, of course. Let’s dance!
Young Liars #9, “Home Again, Home Agan, Jiggity Jig,” by David Lapham was the first issue that I reviewed for CBR. I would go on to review five more up through issue 17. I gave issue nine 4.5 stars (the average rating of the six Young Liars issues I reviewed is 4.583333333…) and I wrote some of the following things:
Unpredictable, passionate, odd, idiosyncratic, and very quite funny… really, your typical issue of Young Liars. Then again, there is no “typical” issue of this book as David Lapham seems to have made it his mission to keep the reader guessing as every answer he provides leads to at least five more questions. Fractal storytelling at its best, I’d have to call it.
In this issue, we learn that, maybe, the invasion of the spiders from Mars is really just Sadie’s delusional dream — but only “maybe” as Sadie’s confrontation with her mother and half-brother suggest that it could be real. Except that Danny knows she confuses reality and this delusional dream of hers, and has somehow worked to influence it, to change his role in it from the father/invader to hero Danny Duoshade.
Lapham purposefully references superhero comics as Danny calls the manic, violent, excitable Sadie “Superhero Sadie,” the survival persona of Sadie who hunts the spiders and saves the world… but not quite.
Lapham obviously knows exactly what he wants, both in his writing and art, and that’s exactly what makes Young Liars so effective a book. Not many writers or artists are so sure of what they’re doing and so willing to take risks, but Lapham is and it pays off big time.
I love it when Past Chad does a lot of the heavy lifting for me. Lapham reveals in this issue that, while Sadie is in her coma, Danny dreams her dreams and is able to alter them. He is both her Earth father and Danny Duoshade, while CeeCee is her Earth mother (I thought they looked familiar, but not strongly enough for me to say anything…), and the situation always plays out in a similar fashion to what we saw in issue seven. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Why else would Sadie always allow five spiders to escape? A different number each time would make sense, but five is a specific number — specific enough to raise the idea that this did happen and she’s so focused on her mission that she keeps reliving it, although skewed through memory.
There’s a hint of a cycle repeating itself since this issue returns back to where the first issue kicked things off, minus Runco. The gang in New York, Donnie clean and going to go in on a cafe with someone; Annie in therapy; CeeCee thinking about college… except that she’s pregnant. And it may not be Danny’s kid, it could be the midget’s Pinkerton demon spawn. Later issues reveal that it is Danny’s kid, I believe — appropriate since his ‘Mr. Johnson’ got cut off mid-coitus. Though, later on, none of this happened except in Danny’s mind, so his betrayal of Sadie/possible rape of CeeCee could have caused him to punish himself in his fantasy by castrating himself. I’m getting a bit off topic…
Superhero Sadie loves Danny completely, but when she woke from her coma, she was her old self for a moment until they sedated her. This gives Danny hope that he can undo the damage caused by shooting her, so he takes her to her birth mother’s house (who is apparently alive and the true owner of the Brown Bag empire). There, it’s revealed that Sadie has another half-brother and he’s a Spider. So there are Spiders! And she kills him, at which point it’s revealed that Edmund was the son of Jack Wonderwall, the man who ran the Brown Bag empire for Sadie’s father…
Throw in a whole bunch of stuff about Puss-Bag and Sadie doing the nasty, and Danny has a bit of a weird time in this issue. For the first time, we get the sense that Danny really cares about Sadie in a non-creepy way… unless you count the messing with her dreams…? But, there’s not a sense of him wanting to get in her pants (not that he could) — he even says that she can sleep with Puss-Bag. It’s like all he wants to do is fix everything. He sees how messed up she is — from her father, from him, from CeeCee… and he just wants it to end. It’s not a mistake that Sadie places him in the role of her abusive father, the leader of the Spiders, while he places himself in the role of Danny Duoshade, her protector, saviour, and One True Love. This is the first realisation on his part — his first TRUE realisation — that he has not been a positive influence on her life. He’s fucked her up but good.
Puss-Bag’s involvement with killing spiders (and Spiders) with Sadie is interesting since he’s later revealed to be one of them. Though, which reality is true is a whole other question. Is this one real or is the world of Browning, Arizona real? If this is real, it makes sense that in the other reality, the one geared to Danny that Puss-Bag would be a Spider. Puss-Bag is a big, tough guy and, here, he cries like a little girl at the meeting between Sadie and her mom… more Spider indication? The reunion of mother and daughter, both part of the Spiders?
Something else that caught my eye: Danny is already aware that Annie X is evil. This will come into play later — as it did last issue.
Hmm… that’s about it for today.
In yesterday’s post’s comments section, David Lapham confirmed that the book will ship on September 2, meaning that I began these series of posts two weeks early if my plan was to have issue 17’s post go up the night before the final issue shipped. I will continue the posts on the current schedule and come up with something to fill those two weeks. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them since I’m not fond of killing the momentum of these posts (and there’s something oddly appealing about posting about Young Liars for a solid month). I have an idea or two, but I’d like to hear what you guys want.
See you tomorrow.