Punk Mambo #1: Buffy Vibes Abound!

Review by Sam Beard

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PUNK MAMBO #1 Written by Cullen Bunn, Art by Adam Gorham, Colors by Jose Villarubia, Lettering by Dave Sharpe

Synopsis: From writer Cullen Bunn (Venom), artist Adam Gorham (New Mutants: Dead Souls), colorist Jose Villarubia, letterer Dave Sharpe comes this hilariously horrifying tale. Punk Mambo is a hard-living voodoo priestess who grew up in London, then relocated to Louisiana’s Bayou Country. Now, she’s a mystical mercenary for hire. In her first-ever solo series, Punk Mambo investigates a series of abductions in the New Orleans gutter punk scene, stumbling upon a deadlier mystery that takes her to the haunted shores of Haiti.

Thanks to Valiant Comics for providing a copy of Punk Mambo #1 for review!

The titular Punk of Punk Mambo is a voodoo worker, and spirit warrior. She uses spirits from another realm to do battle with evil creatures on earth. It seems that she still has a lot to learn about the best ways to use and manipulate her hold on the spirits she communes with. If she can’t find better ways to harness her abilities she may very well lose them!

The art work in Punk Mambo is pretty rad. Not only do I love the character design for the main character, but the set design for New Orleans and the surrounding areas is so detailed and rich. It feels like the world is lived in, and maybe a little damaged. I love how Gorham was able to convey that in the line work and the postures of the characters.

When I first saw the cover art for this book, I was immediately reminded of a character from the Buffy comic books. That character also has a pink mohawk, though it is not quite as awesome as Punk’s mohawk. The Buffy vibes didn’t end there though! I get a sense that Punk cares a lot about the people of New Orleans, even if she doesn’t show it. I think she’ll spend future issues trying to work out ways to protect the people she pretends aren’t her friends, while reconciling her human nature with her connection to the spirit world. This is definitely a series I would like to read more of!

After reading some other horror/thriller stories from Bunn, I already think this may be one of my favorites. The world feels more rich than series like Cold Spots and Bone Parish. I think the character designs are more detailed as well, as that lends so much to a graphic novel. I’m excited to see what Punk has to face next!

Punk Mambo #1 is on sale April 24th. Cover art shown is a variant cover version by Dan Brereton.

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