Review by Mike Perry
Published by Image Comics
Released September 7, 2016
Written by Jim Zub
Art and Cover by Djibril Morissette-Phan (Cover) & K. Michael Russell (Colors)
Get it on Kindle or ComiXology
Sometimes you just can’t catch a break. That’s the story of Farrah Durante, an out-of-work and aging actress who is trying to find her way in a world where beauty and youth get the nod over wisdom and experience almost every single time. Not only is Farrah juggling the stress of being in the twilight of her Hollywood glory, but she’s doing so while raising a little boy and dealing with an obnoxious millenial babysitter who is in search of fame and fortune herself.
At face value, Glitterbomb is a case study in the human condition. It’s about a mom trying to make ends meet and do the best that she can for her little family. Of course, it wouldn’t be an Image-published human interest/slice of life book without there being some kind of underlying commentary. That’s where this book shines. It’s an evisceration of the Hollywood machine. Farrah has gone from successful young actress to relic, and that’s no more apparent than when she encounters a fresh-faced young starlet in the waiting room at an audition. The younger actress recognizes her from a role she played long in the past, and at first, Farrah is overcome with feelings of pride. That’s immediately followed by a kick in the gut, as the girl bluntly explains that Farrah is nothing more to her than a dinosaur.
Brooke, the young actress, buries Farrah in the most hackneyed of platitudes. Her therapist gave her some piece of advice that you may have seen reposted a million other times on Facebook. Her stylist shared similar advice. Her acting coach gave her more of the same, and Farrah’s frustration wells up as she continues to share. Farrah is an old veteran, and this young girl is hanging on to these trite little sound bytes, until she ultimately snaps, telling Brooke that life is not a fortune cookie. Of course, you can predict how the audition turns out.
Frustrated, Farrah trudges to a local beach where she’s accosted by a homeless man. She deals with it in the exact way that you’d expect her to. The character is written so well that by the end of the debut issue, you almost feel like you’re one step ahead of her. That is, of course, until she steps out into the water and is overtaken by her frustrations, which somehow lures some type of entity that grants her powers that she can’t quite control.
In the beginning, Farrah is vulnerable. She’s a doormat for an industry that long ago used her up and spit her out. Her new “ability” manifests itself in a brutal, surprising, and appropriate way as she becomes a sort of reluctant Hollywood justice seeker. The hunted has become the hunter, to steal an old Hollywood trope.
Glitterbomb is well written, beautifully drawn, inked, and colored, and sets the pace for what should be a very successful run. It’s a beautiful and thrilling companion piece to Snotgirl, especially for readers who can’t stand today’s dumbing down of popular culture.
Imagine if there was a Keeping Up with the Kardashians storyline where The Punisher came through with a chip on his shoulder about vapid celebrities, and you’ve pretty much got this book pinned down. Sprinkle in some of Michael Douglas from Falling Down and the recipe is complete. I cannot recommend this book enough. A fantastic read.