Bad Luck Chuck #1

Writer: Lela Gwenn
Artist: Matthew Dow Smith
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Frank Cvetkovic
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Review by Michael Farris, Jr.

What’s a girl to do when preternatural bad luck follows her around? For Tashi Charlene Manchester—aka Bad Luck Chuck—the answer, of course, is to monetize. Chuck is sent on jobs to use her incredible bad luck to get work done for her clients, whether it’s arson or extracting someone’s daughter from a cult. However, Chuck finds herself in between a rock and a hard place when an insurance investigator gets wise to her schemes and the daughter she is sent to save is really the target of her greedy mother. Can Chuck team up with Fayola—whose name means “good luck”—and get out of this sticky situation?

The first aspect of this book that struck me is how it felt a lot like Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye comics in the best way possible. It’s full of dry, sarcastic dialogue and humor (“Of course it’s a goat” was probably my favorite line), the artwork is modern, sometimes impressionistic, sometimes streaked with pointillism, and is tightly colored.

Along with all that is a premise that is crazy enough to work. I’m sure we’ve all felt like our luck tank has run dry from time to time, but Chuck seems to be a pretty good sport about having the absolute worst luck. In fact, she’s got it down to a science: almost becoming a Jessica Jones-type character who gets the job done with her luck…or lack thereof.

However, you have to wonder if that premise is enough to work a whole comic series off of, and Gwenn provides the solution to that with a buddy story that nobody knew we needed until now. The stakes are high with a murderous mother and an intrepid insurance investigator, but none of these overlapping storylines feel overwhelming in the first issue of this series.

There are a few minor complaints: one is that there are times the writing transitions between the pages feel a little rocky and the dialogue gets a bit helter-skelter. There are also times when the characters seem to display the lack of urgency that you would expect them to have. But maybe that’s because those characters have seen some shit and are overall cool customers.

Verdict: Buy it.

This was a stellar debut issue for Bad Luck Chuck. She may be unlucky, but we’re lucky enough to be graced with her story.

Michael Farris Jr.
Michael is a Virginia-born Idaho convert (stuck in Georgia) and a huge fan of sci-fi. He took time off from comics and sci-fi during the dark years of being a teenager and trying to impress girls, but has since married an amazing woman with whom he regularly can geek out and be himself. He's also a drummer, loves metal music, and can always be found in a melancholy state while watching all things DC sports.

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