*Minor Spoilers Ahead*
Hello true believers!
Welcome to the the very FIRST edition of our *~ written ~* version of Chris' Corner. Frequent listeners of The Oblivion Bar Podcast know that each episode of the show [generally] features this self-indulgent segment where I will offer up a comic book, movie, television series [sometimes none of those things, but most commonly a comic] that I've been enjoying recently. Don't think of these posts as a 'review', but more so of me broadly saying, "I already like this thing, and I think you might too... nerd". That being said, if at any point you see me recommending the movie Cocktail during this segment, just know that I'm already fully aware that I might be the only person in the entire universe that genuinely, unironically loves that film.
I regret to inform everyone that came for the Elisabeth Shue discourse this week that we will not be talking about the 1988 Thomas Cruise film -- however, we will be talking about the raunchy five-issue miniseries from Scout Comics: Trakovi: The Slav With No Remorse [It's unclear if this series actually has a subtitle or not. I kind of like it with].
The series is written, illustrated, and lettered by Slovenian/Canadian comic creator Adriean Koleric. The inaugural first issue won't release to the public until July, but thanks to Mr. Koleric himself, we were able to read all five issues early! Here is a brief, but somewhat pointless synopsis of Trakovi-- I say pointless, because well... these next couple sentences don't quite capture what it's actually like reading this series:
"A Slovenian thug in Edmonton, Canada, tries to put his criminal past behind him, but there are those who know where the bodies are buried who refuse to allow the dead to rest in peace..."
Absolutely blown away by Koleric's panel layouts in this series.
My main takeaway after finishing Trakovi is Adriean Koleric's art is next-level idiosyncratic. I've been on record saying that while the "house style" in comics serves a very specific purpose, it can quickly produce a sort of haze over my eyes while reading a story from "The Big Two". In those situations, I'll subconsciously only see the word balloon's and completely disregard the art, and that is a true bummer. I truly adore when an artist steps outside of the box, plays with the medium, and has a very specific voice. Koleric has that in spades, and if you are a skeezy 90's kid like me that grew up during the prime-Vertigo era, I suspect you'll find a lot to like here.
Trakovi also features many references to Koleric's home of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. He said in a recent interview with The Writer's Block:
I didn’t want to build a new world, everything’s already here and it just gives the story more heart, as opposed to creating some fictional town.
I also wanted to build this up locally—I was more concerned with people in Edmonton reading it as opposed to people outside of Edmonton. Maybe they’ll be interested in going to visit some of the places [featured in Trakovi]. I like the idea of contributing to the city in some fashion.
Outside of the setting and this being a bat-shit crazy series, I'd actually prefer to stay away from specific story details as much as possible. Again, the first issue doesn't officially release for a couple months, but also... this story is a f#@&ing ride that you just have to make up your own mind on. There were multiple times while reading this where I thought to myself, "wait, hold on. Let me run through that one more time". It is worth mentioning that Trakovi's sponsor Singh is, without a doubt, my favorite character of the series. He is acts as a vehicle of reason/calmness among a cadre of irate, blood-thirsty, chain-smoking lunatics.
Trakovi is all killer and with no filler, and a "f#@& you, I won't do what you tell me" attitude. Fans of Ennis' Preacher and Milligan's Shade the Changing Man will appreciate the madness here. Koleric pencils and panel layouts swing for the fences with every single page, and that's where this series really shines. The most challenging aspect of this story is Koleric asking you to eventually root for, and I mean this with no hyperbole, one of the most demented protagonist ever written into a comic.
This insane series will hit your LCS on July 26th, 2023.