“Going to the Chapel” #1 sets up a fun wedding heist story: four crooks are about to rip off a quarter of a million dollar necklace from a blushing bride, an earnest husband and a demure family.
Nothing quite goes to plan, however.
Story: David Pepose
Art: Gavin Guidry
Colors: Liz Kramer
Letters: Ariana Maher
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
First off, this book has what’s probably the best tagline in comics history: “Love is the ultimate hostage situation.”
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business. “Going to the Chapel” tells the story of Emily Anderson’s wedding day, and Pepose immediately stacks the roster with a slew of entertaining and slightly off-kilter family members. There’s a lascivious mother, an overbearing rich father, a badass granny and a pyro-obsessed niece, and then there’s Emily. She has cold feet, but what’s to be feared? Jesse’s an architect who’s calm, compassionate, kind and, as Emily states to her sister, ok in bed. It’s all about to be stitched up, so what’s she worried about?
Enter the criminals, and a good dose of plot intrigue to keep us turning the pages. Pepose’s clean writing pairs with Guidry’s engaging and cartoonish style to make for a very fun read. Guidry’s faces are Maguire-esque with peakier details, and the simple church provides an iconic backdrop that undermines the archetypal dream wedding and will, no doubt, pay off in some action scenes in later issues. There are a few subtle proportion issues in some of the smaller panels, as Guidry has a large cast to fit on the page and not a lot of time to feature them in this first issue, but they’re easy to truck through when we’re treated to Granny’s steely thousand-mile stare or Jesse’s best man’s smarmy come-ons. Guidry also adds just the right amount of softness to Emily while giving her a strong jaw to balance her moments of delicate uncertainty and her more, uh, sure moments later on. The final page features just the right level of narrative shock, though Guidry’s choice of a heavier line and that particular angle makes the interaction just a little blocky and disjointed. Throughout, Pepose’s dialogue is funny, bright and off-kilter enough to add a lot of interest and make it clear from the jump that this ain’t your typical wedding or heist comic.
Kramer’s colors set off Guidry’s clean line with lovely sunlit hues – there’s a lot of orange, rose, lavender and cream to set a bright and dreamy tone, and those hues are echoed in the bar while pulling in some darker purples and blues as Jesse chats up the man who’s about to stick up his wedding. The members of the Bad Elvis Gang sport cheesy, delightful burgundy suits, and the sickly green cast to the Romero-style mask is a perfect counterpoint to Emily’s rosy lips in the panel above. The whole book feels like a femme take on a Western, which is exactly the type of tone you’d want for a story like this. Maher’s lettering is clear and precise, and the font in this book sports a few little tweaky details that perfectly echo the tone of a beautiful day gone sideways. Of special note is the epic door-crash sound effect that’s tricked out in softer strokes than the lettering. It takes up a good deal of real estate on the page and is a fun and effective interjection at that particular moment.
Overall, “Going to the Chapel” knows exactly what it’s trying to do, and it does it well. We’re here to be entertained, just like we’d hit theaters for the latest wise-cracking, over-cranked-camera action comedy, and Pepose and the team are going to make sure they deliver. Give this one a read when it drops this Wednesday, and all hail Grandma.
The Verdict: 8/10 – “Going to the Chapel” #1 hooks its audience with an effective blend of snappy dialogue, fun visuals and good intrigue.