The world would collapse without the usefulness of loopholes.
Story: Rob Reger & Mariah Huehner
Art: Cat Farris
What They Say:
The people responsible for the stray cat population explosion have been revealed, but can Emily and the Strangers stop the plot and find homes for these cats? And will they be able to put aside their differences and record an out-of-this-world album, all while playing detective on the kitty case? It’s gonna come down to the wire in the rocking conclusion to Breaking the Record!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
My first experience with Emily the Strange comes to a close with this issue and it’s certainly been a fun and amusing little diversion from what I usually read, which is important to do from time to time. The series has given us some fun character moments showing us how Emily and the band are dealing with getting their record deal, realizing they’re caught up in a much larger machine and then realizing that things really aren’t what they seem after their encounter that reveals what’s going on with Kute Kitty and the music label itself. That kind of collusion just isn’t cool in the slightest. So having the group come together and realize that they can’t really do this anymore isn’t a surprise, but the fun comes in watching how they can get out of what they’re caught up in while not losing themselves, who they are and the rad guitar that Emily has gotten through all of it.
The book does a really great job in the first couple of pages in terms of style and exposition to get us into the heads of the cast as a whole as we get the standoff between the two sides done symbolically before going into the pages where we really see inside each of the Strangers’ heads in order to see how they think and are processing all of this. It’s a really neat way of doing things and hits a kind of artistic sweet spot that really made me like Cat Farris all the more in how she approached it. When it shifts back to normal mode though, we get to go right into Emily putting together her plan – a plan she won’t share of course – that should help get all their goals achieved. But to do that, she needs to get inside of the music label through the Kute Kitty facility in order to set it in motion with her robotic drone that she’s cutely built. Standard plot device stuff, right?
There’s some really fun stuff as they go through the whole infiltration part of it and the gags that come with it, but also the panic over what they may find, but it then shifts into a really good music montage style sequence when they’re back at their place and organically put together a song on their own to record with the rad guitar that will help reach the hearts of many about what they’re dealing with. Things go from wonderfully artistic to creepy when Crawly shows up to get everyone to sign the contract and that has some of the evil flair we saw in previous installments from Crawly that works so well. But there’s a good bit of fun along the way as well with the loophole that comes into play, which was really the only sorta kinda way out of what they had come up with here. That has its own history, which is given some flashback material itself to help cement the guitar’s personal history some, and it makes for a better understanding of why it’s so rad. Sadly, the book ends up feeling like a middle chapter in a story here rather than a concluding chapter based on how they end it, which essentially says “See you in the next series soon.”
Emily and the Strangers is a pretty fun little series that does things in a way that makes you smile, laugh and enjoy the kind of classic comic book storytelling that you’d make sure your kids had while also being able to enjoy it yourself. There’s a need to have titles like this out there because they’re able to draw in people and be really accessible for new audiences, but also because it’s necessary for the heavy consumers of comics to realize that it’s not all “this” or “that’ out there. I wish we had more books like this, though I do wish that this particular book had a bit more of a conclusion to it and not just a leaping point to the next miniseries. It’s definitely got its charms though and other than feeling a little cut short by the ending, it’s a delight.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: August 27th, 2014