“Blue Monday” Volume 2
Writer / Illustrator: Chynna Clugston Flores
Colours: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Sean Konot
In the sixteen years since the first miniseries of Chynna Clugston Flores’s Blue Monday made its way to publication, the world has been introduced to Tumblr, the Arctic Monkeys, Phonogram, and hundreds of other things that heroine Bleu Finnegan and the rest of her friends would no doubt be obsessed with. But, being that no new additions of updates beyond Jordie Bellaire’s bright coloring job on the black and white originals have been made in the re-issue, instead Bleu and her friends remain the Britpop-obsessed, scooter riding mod squad they’ve been all this time.
Blue Monday: The Kids Are Alright, volume one in the four volume re-issue of the series published by Image, found the Californian high schooler Bleu Finnegan and her best friend Clover hunting down tickets to a sold out Adam Ant gig, all the while dealing with attempts to get under their skin by their unwanted admirers? bullies? friends? Alan and Victor. There’s also a hot substitute teacher, meddling parents, and whole ton of music—everything needed to make this classic teen comedy complete.
Instead of sending the girls on a wild band chase several towns over, the second installment of the re-issue, Absolute Beginners, keeps the gang closer to home, splitting the focus among the whole gang rather than just on Bleu. Issue one opens with a fancy dinner party, perhaps the last place any of the foursome (plus their promiscuous friend Erin, vice principal’s daughter Rissa, and grimy chef-wannabe Monkeyboy) would have thought to find themselves. All goes relatively according to their host Patrick’s plan, until Alan and Victor videotape (it’s the 90s!) Bleu in the bath, at which point all hints of romance and friendship are forgotten in the girls’ utter disgust. Unfortunately, everyone else seems to focus on Bleu’s nudity, not the boys’ being utter creeps, so in an attempt to fix her reputation, Bleu agrees to go on a date with Alan to try to get the tapes back.
It’s decisions like this that often make Absolute Beginners so painfully awkward to read. Bleu doesn’t have a great track record of making the smartest decisions, but seeing her continue to interact with such scumbags makes my skin crawl as much in fiction as it does in real life. What’s worse is that no one really tells the boys how creepy they are—even the teachers at school know what’s going on but blame Bleu for the whole ordeal.
That same rage and disgust in me, though, makes the moments of the girls’ triumph all the more satisfying. As much as the romance in this book is nine kinds of messed up, the friendship does truly shine. Although some of Clover and everyone else’s ideas for getting back at the boys are logically not the best ones, their hearts are always in the right place. Besides, good decisions probably wouldn’t have led to a kickass soccer battle, disastrous Italian dinner, or any of the other things that puts the guys and girls head-to-head in their quest to out-prank each other. It also have wouldn’t have led to the appearance of any new friends, like Bleu’s anxiety-manifested otter friend Seamus, who is just supernatural and ridiculous enough to make the actions of these horny, confused teens make a little more sense.
Awkwardness aside, Absolute Beginners is a hell of a lot of fun. Its manga-inspired look and the abundance of bright colors provide the perfect lively background for this cinematic adventure. I’ll surely enter the next volume terrified that no one will have learned their lesson and my skin will be a second from crawling every time one of the boys appears, but at least I’ll know that nothing could stop Bleu and Clover from being the hilarious, no-nonsense duo that make Absolute Beginners such an crass, energetic time.
Danielle grew up in Los Angeles, went to college in New York, and didn’t know what to do with her art history degree.
She now works as a cheese monger in Dublin, because that seemed like as good an idea as any.comments powered by Disqus