There's a question posed to the reader on the cover of David Lapham's new book for Vertigo, Young Liars. It asks, "Are you ready for this?" And I think we are, because "this" is an interesting new book filled with tragic characters that promises to entertain us as long as Lapham can keep the book going (sorta like Stray Bullets).
Lapham's conceit for the book is a good one. One of the (okay, THE) most popular character from Lapham's Stray Bullets series was Amy Racecar, the fictional character (and yes, I know, I know, "they're ALL fictional characters") within Stray Bullets who was brash and did all sorts of crazy things. Well, the conceit of Young Liars is - what if there was a person who was like Amy Racecar - but for real? That's what happens to Sadie Dawkins, a young heiress on the run from her wealthy father in New York City, who was shot in the head (the circumstances of the shooting are cloaked in mystery). The bullet lodged itself in her brain, leaving her unable to feel normal human emotions, but it also made her into basically a cartoon action hero (a la Amy Racecar).
Sadie is more or less controlled by our narrator, a failed musician named Danny Noonan, whose life basically revolves around Sadie, but her life revolves around him, too, as she basically does anything Danny tells her to - only she does it (to borrow a term from Poochie) "to the extreme!" To wit, Danny gave Sadie a speech recently about the value of loyalty, and then casually mentions that a waitress friend of theirs was getting a hard time from some customers - so Sadie attacks the two large men and kicks their ass.
What Lapham does quite beautifully is mix in the tragic ancillary characters (the anorexic waitress, the tread upon drag queen, etc.) with the manic nature of Sadie's condition - it gives the book an interesting pace.
Lapham's art is strong, as usual. He even seems to DRAW Sadie differently from the others - while they fade to the background, she pops. Lee Loughridge's colors could certainly take some credit there, as well.
This was a great opening issue, and Lapham even mixes in some mystery (who shot Sadie? which of the group betrayed her?) to the story, giving us reason to come back for future issues.