Helena Crash #1
Writer: Fabian Rangel Jr.
Artist: Warwick Johnson Cadwell
Letterer: Ironbark
Publisher: IDW

Review by Rich Schepis

Coffee is the greatest elixir the world has ever known. Coffee is the lifeblood that gives people the energy and jolt needed to survive each day; many of whom cannot function or start a day without at least one cup, if not more. Sadly, it appears the future of Fabian Rangel, Jr. and Warwick Johnson Caldwell’s Helena Crash has made coffee illegal as well as a highly profitable endeavor. Enter said title character, who much like Red from The Shawshank Redemption procures things for those willing to pay. The item she is commissioned for most – coffee, of course.

Star Trek: Voyager’s Captain Janeway would not like the world of Earth in the future. Her greatest quest was to safely return her crew home, her second was the pursuit of coffee – “There’s coffee in that nebula.” Turns out coffee drinker’s greatest fear will be realized in the future, as “the environment took a nosedive,” which led to the coffee being more difficult to grow and thus a cherished commodity.

Helena Crash #1 opens as she is being chased by what appears to be a Mexican wrestling squad’s tricked-out tank which would be easily at home in the Mad Max universe. Of course, Helena is being chased for the coffee she is transporting for a client. The future has turned into a lawless society similar to something out of the Old West, as chases through town as well as disagreements being solved with guns are common place. Any respectable town like this contains a saloon/nightclub where the denizens go to enjoy themselves and partake in guilty and most illegal activities.

Issue one’s main plot has Helena summoned to Rojo’s club, where she must past security to enter. It’s a terrific amalgamation of the world Rangel, Jr. and Johnson Cadwell have created – complete with the duo’s own version of a Star Wars’ cantina band. Helena is presented with a business proposition by the club’s owner, one which threatens to upset her neutrality.

Of course, serving as a coffee delivery service is dangerous work, even today – imagine walking into a Starbucks that was out of coffee, the horror. Helena can’t keep up this line of work forever, especially considering the chase that opens the issue. Her response to Rojo’s offer sets up issue two and kicks off Helena’s journey.

Rangel, Jr. provides just enough information in issue #1 to assure readers return for the next installment, supplying flashbacks to fill-in some of Helena’s backstory. Not only is she a coffee courier, but she is pretty much also a bad ass who knows how to handle herself, and carries a sword, too.

Johnson Cadwell’s art is perfect for the crazy world that these characters inhabit – hyperactive and populated with all sorts of savory characters. His unique style comes alive during the story’s manic chase sequence, but also in its quieter moments which focus on the more human moments of Helena’s life.

Readers should make sure to read “Crash’s Corner” at the conclusion of the issue. The section will become a letter’s page in future issues, but Rangel, Jr. takes the opportunity to introduce the premise of Helena Crash and includes the novelty of a playlist and coffee to enjoy while experiencing issue one.

The Verdict
Buy It! Helena Crash #1 is a fun and exhilarating time, which is balanced by simpler moments. Not only is a day without coffee something most readers fear, Helena also carries a sword – coffee and swords, nothing else really matters.

Rich Schepis

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