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Book Reviews The Love Bunglers: A lifetime’s accumulated pain lurks troublingly beneath the surface

Title
The Love Bunglers
Author
Jaime Hernandez
Genre
Graphica
Publisher
Fantagraphics
Pages
112
Price
$19.99

Hernandez introduced his signature character three decades ago in the landmark series Love & Rockets, where Maggie la loca debuted as an irrepressible, spiky-haired punk. Today, Maggie's a little more cautious and weary, but no less unlucky in love. Whether with Ray, who's long mooned after Mags, or with Calvin, her prodigal, traumatized brother, Maggie's tentative interactions throughout show how easily love gets destroyed and rebuffed. Jumping between time frames and narrators with masterful ease, Hernandez lets a lifetime's accumulated pain lurk troublingly beneath the surface, until it pierces through with sudden, devastating clarity. New readers need not worry: the artist, known for reducing his images to their perfect, bare essentials, telegraphs the plot with similar concision. Exposure to Maggie and Ray's tortuous back-story may enrich the experience of reading The Love Bunglers – one of the wondrous, aching triumphs of modern comics – but the duo's bungled passions remain universally bittersweet.

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