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Hot Lunch Special #2 Review

3 min read

It’s nice to see a story get its legs. This one does, but the slow burn could be a turn-off.

Creative Staff:
Writer: Eliot Rahal
Art: Jorge Fornes
Letterer: Taylor Esposit

What they say:
A midwestern noir series set in the harsh landscape of the northern Minnesota Iron Range-Hot Lunch Special is all about family, food and the fight for survival. Only one question is worth asking…is blood thicker than sandwiches?

Liam Moran, the son of notorious Irish Mobster “Big Jim” Moran, was only supposed to send a warning. A machine gun message to the Jordan Khoury: Pay up or pay the price. Unfortunately, things went sideways, and now…someone is dead. Broken hearts and bitter questions are left in the wake of his untimely murder. But before they can be addressed, it’s time for a fractious Khoury family funeral.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
When we last left the Khoury family, high school everyman Ben Khoury was finishing up his job at the family restaurant, his mom Dorothy was speeding towards the restaurant, and a pair of hitmen had begun to spray the business with machine gun fire. In the opening pages of this issue, we see the killers have pancakes. While the Khoury family comes abreast with it’s greatest tragedy, the death of Ben.

It’s interesting to see each of the family members reactions to the murder. Dorothy, Ben’s mom, is silent and reverent.  Uncle Danny, who has a drug problem, acts out and get’s quite the thrashing for it and the patriarch, Jordan Khoury, welcomes relations and friends to his home. It’s nice to see characters have real reactions to life-altering situations. Rahal made some excellent choices in this section. He and Fornes created a nine-panel page that is a perfect example of the use of moment to moment panels. Each family member addresses, hugs, and moves on from Jordan, making it seem like a real situation.

Meanwhile, Jordan takes a call from Moran, who apologizes for his grandson’s death. “He wasn’t supposed to be there!” This has great emotional weight, as it adds to the mountain of stress on the family. As a writer, you should make a situation that your protagonist has no chance of escaping. Rahal is continuing to add pressure to our heroes, hoping they break. While this is great for a writer, it leaves the reader hanging. His placement of scenes more often than not reveals integral parts of the story, before they are supposed to have happened. Robbing the reader of a juicy bit of information that they sorely need.

I can’t say enough how much Jorge Fornes art made this series gritty and rooted in the real world. Fornes isn’t big on background details, but his blurring of setting, the brightness of light, and shabby look of the Khoury family are intoxicating. I compare him to Paul Azaceta, as Fornes work has an Outcast feel to it.

After the funeral, the Khoury family has returned to Jordan’s home. Dorothy makes use of the facilities, while Danny and his father have a soul-bearing, gut-wrenching, family changing argument. Danny blames himself, but father Jordan realizes the choices he has made in his life lead up to this moment. As the father and son argue over who is at fault, Jordan takes the responsibility, Dorothy overhears, leaving us with another cliffhanger, it’s a time-honored comic trope guys, and holding us in suspense until next month.

 In Summary:

After the last month, I was a skeptic. The initial issue had several flashbacks and exposition about the characters. This is something better reserved for novels, but this issue put us on track. While we still haven’t learned how Jordan and Moran came to be in their businesses, we do see the cracks that will lead to their confrontation.

Grade: B

Age Rating: T
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: 
September 12, 2018

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