Definitely Not A One Hit Wonder
Tripwire’s contributing writer Tim Cundle reviews Image Comics’ Burnouts; One Hit, out now in trade paperback…
Burnouts: One Hit
Writer: Dennis Culver
Letters: Dave Dwonc
Colour Flats: Lauren Perry
Logo & Book Design: Dylan Todd
It isn’t easy being a teenager. Especially when you’re a high flying, over-achiever whose whole existence revolves around grades and getting into college but all you really want to do is cut loose, meet some girls and have a good time. That’s the story of Andy Curtis’ life, a straight A student who has never broken a single rule in his life and has always stayed on the right side of the tracks. However, after one tutorial about the multiple evils of marijuana too many, Andy decides to sneak out to a late night party and find out for himself just how terrible the infamous gateway drug really is. It’s a decision that he soon regrets, as just after his first encounter with the devil’s lettuce, he starts seeing aliens. They’re everywhere he looks, floating through the air, possessing people at random and turning them into vessels for who knows what.
Before he gets a chance to blame his visions on the pot he’s just smoked, he discovers he’s not the only one who can see the ghostly green apparitions, as his school’s resident gang of burnouts crash the party and start cracking alien heads. Press-ganged into saving the world from the invaders from outer space by the stoners who, having found a kindred spirit, explain to Andy that the only way to see, and fight, the aliens is by getting, and staying, high. Indoctrinated into the cause, Andy’s life is rapidly turned upside down as he’s given a crash course in how to combat the extra-terrestrial horde. He’s a rapid learner, so Andy takes to weed and alien fighting like he was born to smoke and kill, and soon finds himself plunged into a reality that he never even suspected existed. It’s a whole new world for Andy, one in which cow-tipping, ending up on the wrong side of the law and not knowing who he can or can’t trust are entirely normal.
A sublime mash-up of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Faculty and John Hughes’ entire filmography bar Home Alone, Burnouts is a fast, energetic book in which Geoffo’s snappy, vibrant and vivacious art and Dennis Culver’s breakneck plot, excellent characterisation and edgy dialogue work in perfect harmony. Exploring the fragility of teenage relationships and how difficult it is trying to find out who you are and where you fit into the world, Burnouts dispels the notion that the voice of authority is always right while reinforcing the idea that the world is far more complicated than that voice would have us all believe. Finishing on the sort of cliff-hanger that would make Buster Crabbe shake his head and mutter “There’s no getting out of this one”, which is guaranteed to make Andy and his comrades in arms lives much more difficult in their immediate future, Burnouts is definitely a book to keep an eye on. Get in on the ground floor and start reading it now, so that when Netflix throw the dollars at Culver and Geoffo, you can say that you were there first and that you’re definitely one of the cool kids. Grange Hill was never like this… Tim Cundle