In the lead-up to Young Liars ending on (I believe) August 19 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 #4, “Bedsheets and Bloodstains,” by David Lapham continues the series’ progression from its first issue into a bolder, more surprising area where Lapham clearly has no fear of taking the characters and plot in unexpected directions. My thoughts on this issue at the time were brief: “…Sadie was a virgin? Jesus.
Freddie [Danny] is a bit of a douche. I’m enjoying this book more with each issue.” This issue is a transitional issue, building on the third issue, having only the briefest of flashbacks, and develops some of the characters around Danny and Sadie.
The issue opens with a flashback to December 31, 2006 and Danny and Sadie being introduced to Runco, Annie, and CeeCee by Donnie for the first time. Annie is not quite so skeletal, CeeCee just got accepted to school, and Runco is still… Runco. The dynamic isn’t that changed from what we get in the present — the biggest change is in Sadie who is more reserved, quiet, and definitely not Danny’s girl — she recoils (in a very subtle way) from his touch at one point. However, as I said last time, she is with him to a certain extent, so we need to question her motives and position as the absolute victim.
The obvious revelation from this issue is that when Danny takes advantage of Sadie, she’s a virgin, something that makes him feel worse about his actions. Lapham throws a nice bit of turnaround in, though, playing off Sadie’s impulsive, do-whatever-feels-good personality, and has her love sex. Love it so much that she wants more than Danny can ever hope to provide (more than any single man could hope to provide). I’m torn by this piece of development, because it works to turn the tables on Danny, altering something he did for him into something uncomfortable and primarily for her. At the same time, he basically rapes her and the idea that the victim enjoys the abuse is distasteful. It almost comes across as what Danny’s fantasy of Sadie’s reaction would be (which, of course, isn’t as great in the real world as it is in his head) and makes me squirm a bit.
Danny does recognise that he’s an asshole — and yet he still feels justified in what he does. Speaking of his sex with Sadie, he says that he did it because he thought he earned it. Earned it? How the fuck did he earn it?
A more subtle revelation that I had forgotten about is that Danny worked at Sadie’s family’s house as a housekeeper — and wore a clown costume. Those who’ve been reading the series (or seen the cover to #18) know that the clown costume returns. I had forgotten about that little bit — and it’s suggested that Danny was raped by Sadie’s stepbrother with a vibrating toothbrush. Oh ho ho.
My favourite sequences in this issue involve Annie and CeeCee. Annie, asked out to dinner by the ship’s first mate, begins freaking out about her looks — and goes into major panic when she goes to an elevator full of old people and focuses on all of their flaws. A strangely real moment for me. CeeCee’s big moment comes when she encounters a trio of former groupies who look like they’ve been fucked a million times — and one mentions having had three abortions, which reminds her own past. We haven’t gotten much development of CeeCee yet, except that she and Danny don’t get along, so this hint (which will be expanded upon in later issues) is nice.
The plot here is pretty simple with the Pinkertons still on the group’s trail, and Runco getting Sadie to take the captain of the boat hostage — Lapham chooses the comical image of Sadie completely naked, two guns in her hands, totally happy with herself.
The issue ends with the group in a lifeboat, coming ashore at a nude beach and Sadie running ashore, yelling “Who wants to nail me first?” while Danny freaks out and CeeCee laughs her ass off.
Not much to say this time around. Things are still building, though. See you tomorrow.
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