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Thunder Brother: Soap Division #2
posted February 7, 2013

imageCreators: Paul B. Rainey
Publishing Information: Self-Published, Mini-Comic, 22 pages, 2012, 3£
Ordering Numbers:

This series from Paul B. Rainey -- full-color, and lovingly compiled from an earlier on-line run -- charms for its scruffy, non-commercial qualities in doses equal to similar light science fiction from the 1980s. It is a cute, straight-forward comic that never in any way threatens to transcend its genre trappings. This makes Thunder Brother: Soap Division at its best moments a slight, pleasant read, better company than art. Still, I have to imagine there's some sort of audience out there for work like this, the way one wonders after serial programming on daytime cable. That could just be me projecting in that I want something like this to have an audience, but I suppose for the sake of describing its virtues either approach will do.

The TBSD narrative revolves around 13-year-old Sally Timmins, an avid lover of soap operas that ends up with a job in the reality-bending bureau that harvests the stories from the alternate universes where they're very real. Cute, right? Well, I thought it was cute. TBSD strikes repeatedly albeit without great force -- think nerf darts -- at that sweet spot between something that probably should have occurred to someone before now and a clever execution of same that likely makes this the only execution of that idea we'll see moving forward. The pages have one of the more striking, oddball, repeating conceits I've seen in a while: a banner panel on top of three tiers of three panels each. I have no idea what rhythm that makes, but it feels like falling backward into a chute. I'm not sure how much more room there is to explore this concept -- a twist at the end bored rather than intrigued me -- but it's a fun-enough world in which to spend some time.