Review of Declan and Chang Sweet F.A. Issue #4

Declan and Chang Sweet FA. Issue #4 opens with a flashback of Victor and Luisa starting their new life together and presents more details of the traumatic incident revealed in issue #3 that changed both their lives.

It is a change of pace from the last issue where we last left our heroes. Declan and Chang, along with Luisa and Victor were about to be carpet-bombed senseless and their new best friend Roscoe was on his way to his first blind date with the Jersey Devil courtesy of the villain now matchmaker Doc Awesome.

What was thought to be a bomb is actually a delivery vehicle with a payload that is just as deadly called a Haridan, which is a psychotic killer robot that talks trash in barcode. Declan, as always, goes off the handle, much to the chagrin of Chang and it nearly becomes a repeat performance of their disastrous encounter with the Jersey Devil until Luisa joins the fray. It seems like old times as the trio successfully triple team the Haridan, however they learn a harsh lesson on why the double tap also applies to artificial intelligence.

While Roscoe is getting smacked around by his date or in her mind engaging in foreplay, the Jersey Devil strongly hints of another agenda emerging. Which only reinforces the ominous implication of the cover of issue #4, that Doc Awesome has more strings to pull.

Considering her last encounter with Declan and Chang, the Jersey Devil should have hollowed out herself a Roscoe canoe to use at Camp Crystal Lake. Instead it appears that the Jersey Devil is sweet on Roscoe. If there is a spin off, it should be with these two. They are tailor made to have a sitcom, let alone their own comic and if the comic book business does not work out, the Yuan Twins have a future in Tijuana Bibles.

As a child of the 1980’s, one of the shows I watched was “Knight Rider” which featured David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, an ex-cop who was shot in the face and left for dead. He would recover with a new face, identity and a mission to right the wrongs with his car K.I.T.T .

K.I.T.T (Which stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand) was an A.I on four wheels and voiced by William Daniels. For all you 90’s kids, he plays George Feenie from “Boy Meets World” and the sequel “Girl Meets World”. K.I.T.T was to Knight Rider to what the Fonz was to Happy Days. K.I.T.T would blast into our living rooms with his turbo boost, looking all sleek and powerful with his black molecular bonded shell. He was also quick on the lip even with a smart aleck like Michael Knight.

One of the motifs of Knight Rider was that every season there was at least one episode where K.I.T.T would get destroyed. Those episodes were the best because K.I.T.T would get completely wrecked and then rebuilt with even cooler features. I suspect the reason why there were so many of these types of episodes was because it was an easy way to refresh the series. Let’s face it, the show is about a guy and his talking car and there is only so much you can squeeze out from that concept.

In the episode “Junk Yard Dog” K.I.T.T is dropped into an acid pool while Michael helplessly watches. K.I.T.T is rebuilt but shows symptoms of PTSD and is crippled by the fear of being damaged. Michael has a heart to CPU talk with K.I.T.T where he confesses to K.I.T.T that he secretly dealt with the trauma of nearly dying in the pilot episode. It is through Michael’s help that K.I.T.T is able to overcome this obstacle. The reason why this particular episode sticks out is that what could have been a predictable episode has been made more memorable was psychological aftermath of K.I.T.T being destroyed.

I appreciate this episode because I realize the writer was putting a fresh spin on a theme that was starting to become a cliché, which was a huge risk on their part because it was revealing both K.I.T.T and Michael Knight in a very vulnerable state.

As I mentioned in my past review of issue #3 there was one line of dialogue that piqued my interest and led me to review the past issues which only confirmed my suspicions that Doc Awesome was not merely stacking the deck against Declan and Change but he was dropping it on their collective cybernetic heads and despite being largely absent, Doc Awesome’s presence is strongly felt in this latest issue

Another benefit of reviewing the previous issues is that I am developing a better understanding of how the Yuan Twins work. Every storyteller has certain motifs. Martin Scorsese uses religion. Hitchcock uses doubles. The Yuan Twins utilize the cliffhanger.

Whatever expectations the Yuan Twins have laid out in the first three issues were met and then blown off the table at the last minute, making issue #4 the game changer. Through a combination of brute force, cunning and luck Declan and Chang have been able to face and overcome getting the short end of the stick. Now they are getting beaten with it. Severely.

Just as the Knight Rider episode “Junk Yard Dog” was putting a twist on the motif of K.I.T.T being destroyed, the Yuan Twins put their own twist on the cliffhanger motif. The cliffhanger from each previous issue has served as the setup for the next issue, resulting in a rhythm. In issue #4, the Yuan Twins have effectively broken the rhythm by using the same motif which is quite an accomplishment because it is hard enough to establish a coherent storyline but any disruption to the arc itself is very risky since it may violate the rules that have been laid down.

What makes this issue so unique is that it distinguishes itself with a cliffhanger that raises a lot of more questions than the previous ones and will require more than one issue to answer. Instead of resorting to gimmicks and tropes, the Yuan Twins are still using the same recipe; the only difference is what is being cooked.

Now begins the crescendo because issue #4 has taken the storyline in a direction where the next two issues will have a huge impact on the characters. This is referred to as “Crossing the Rubicon” because now nothing can be taken back.

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