Daytripper #4(of 10) - '41' - Moon and Ba
Story - Daytripper is a book you have to look at on two different levels, each issue stands alone, and you have to look at how it works as a full story in the life of Bras De Oliva Domingos. But there's also an overarching story here, each issue tells a day in the life (or so) of Bras during different points of his life, but at the end of each issue, he dies. But then the story picks up again, and the events that happened prior to his death still happened. In #3 Bras saw a woman in a shop, ran after her and got hit by a bus, aged 28. But in this issue, aged 41, he's married to that woman! What's going on? There's a mystery there, why does he keep dying?
On the first level, this issue of Daytripper is just as accomplished as the previous 3, Bras is a very engaging, and very real character, he's got human fears and worries, and I do find myself interested in his life. Perhaps the fact that we're seeing it holistically, all over his life, that makes him seem real, we get to know him as a callow youth, and now as a mature man. It makes him very well-rounded. I wouldn't have expected that Ba and Moon could be so good at human touches, considering that their artwork is normally accompanied by over the top crazy action stories like Casanova and Umbrella Academy.
The crux of this issue, and of much of the series before it, is father/son relationships, Bras' father is a famous author, and Bras himself a struggling one, and when you combine the impending birth of Bras' son, and the death of his father, it's all one big fatherly mess. You would think that after reading a ton of comics and watching 6 seasons of LOST I'd be bored of father/son relationships, but they are an eternal theme I think, and I think Daytripper has a more down to Earth take on them.
Then you've got how this issue ties in with the over-arching story of Bras' constant deaths and rebirths. In this issue he has a heart attack, like his dad. It's another solid moment, even if you know it's coming (and you do), it's still interesting. There aren't many hints here as to an overall 'Why', the biggest came in #2, but I did like this line of dialogue: "No matter how hard he tried to block it all out... people will keep dying". Little does Bras know he's talking about himself! There are some other little links to the bigger picture, a mention of Bras' friend Miguel, who seems to be dead (for real), and a flashback to events immediately after #1 (or a version of #1 where Bras isn't murdered).
In the end, I don't think the overall reasoning for why Bras is actually dying every issue is really necessary, I think it may be a simpler point that we could die any day, and we should appreciate every day. A 10-issue version of 'Where clean underpants in case you get hit by a bus'. I'm enjoying myself enough just reading about Bras' life and learning about this fantastic character. The death thing is just a hook to get you in to a more meaty story. This is highly recommended by me, this is a book with real emotion behind it, and a character you definitely care about.
Art - I knew Fabio Moon was a fantastic artist after reading Casanova: Gula (take that trade-waiters, I've read it! Buy the singles!), but I am surprised by how well he's adjusted from super-spy shenanigans to more realistic subject matter. I particularly like how Bras still looks like the same person aged 41 here as he does aged 28, or 21, it's very good stuff, and makes the story work, it wouldn't be as effective if Bras looked like a different person every time. The colouring by Dave Stewart is also very good, I'm used to Moon's work in monochrome blue, and the colours add another layer. On top of the meaty story each month, Daytripper is an artistic treat too, now just get back to Casanova!
Best Line - I've already mentioned it, but it's: "No matter how hard he tried to block it all out... people will keep dying"