Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba are probably best known for their work as artists on books like “Casanova” and “The Umbrella Academy.” The thing is, they’ve written comics in the past, mostly short stories in the North American market. Now that I’ve read two issues of their “Daytripper” 10-part series from Vertigo, they’re starting to show just what they have in mind for this series, and I’m finding myself warming to the comic.
In the latest issue, we once again follow Bras de Olivia Domingos, but this issue is set eleven years earlier when Bras is just 21. On a vacation in the Brazilian city of Salvador, Moon and Ba quickly spin a tale of a beautiful woman, local customs, and trying to find one’s purpose in life. It’s that last part that connects both issues of “Daytripper” to one another. (Aside from the main character, of course.) At both 21 and 32, Bras is slightly adrift, unsure of what he really wants in life. It’s the sort of story you’ve seen before, but what find myself I appreciating about “Daytripper” is that we’re seeing it play out in different locations and points in the main character’s life. Instead of being a series of short stories with the same theme, it feels more like a magical realism novel, where we’re getting the chapters in a slightly different order. So it’s still not terribly deep and we’ve seen it before, but the format and setting are both strong enough that I’m on board.
Moon and Ba are creating some gorgeous art in “Daytripper,” and that’s hard to dispute. I’m not sure how they’re breaking down the art process but it certainly works. They’ve got a soft, gentle line here, one that brings together all the details of Brazil from crowded streets to stunning ocean views. Dave Stewart’s colors sync up perfectly with their art, providing soft gradients that arc across the art, and scenes where Bras are underwater look like they’ve been painted with delicate watercolors. I also love that Bras and Jorge both are instantly identifiable as the characters from “Daytripper” #1, but in their early 20s instead of early 30s. Longer hair, looser faces, even their general attitude seems visually younger. It’s a nice touch.
I’m curious to see if Moon and Ba are going to reconcile the endings of the first two issues (and I’m guessing the later ones as well). I find myself hoping that either it’s explained as a series of metaphorical endings, or alternately that they don’t explain them at all. Anything literal at this point would be a bit of a disappointment. That said, after these two issues I think we’re safe. I guess we’ll know for certain in eight months, but until then I plan on enjoying the ride.