Juice Squeezers #4 Review

For those geeks who’ve been loving David Lapham’s new Goonies-meets-Them! comic Juice Squeezers, the final issue of this four-part series will offer a satisfying ending. But not a great one.

Here’s the official word from Dark Horse:

The deadliest bug battle in the history of Weeville is imminent when the Juice Squeezers awaken the dormant horde below Valley May Farms! But what secrets hide below the surface? If he can live through the insect onslaught, the newest Squeezer might just find something truly unbelievable!

All in all David Lapham’s strangely brilliant coming-of-age series Juice Squeezers has been a Juicepleasure to read, but mostly because the premise is so damn quirky. A group of kids gets called upon to battle an army of giant insects that have invaded the tunnels underneath their town. Why? Because, quite simply, kids are the only ones small enough to slither down into the tunnels. And while the premise couldn’t be any weirder, what Juice Squeezers ultimately lacks (and which issue #4 fails to fully deliver) is that essential aspect that any good coming-of-age story should contain: a story about young people going on an emotional journey. Yes, Lapham tries his best to push some character development along with issue #4 (there’s a particularly charming scene between Popper and Mr. Kettleborne) but the central action of bugs vs. man really overshadows the emotional story anchoring this mini-series. In short, the kids aren’t as cool as the monsters, and while issue #4 does an excellent job of wrapping up the plot, I finished this series realizing I never really cared about the characters. But here’s the thing: I don’t think I’d lob this criticism at any other writer than Lapham — I know it’s unfair — but the fact is he’s such a damn good writer I’ve only come to expect top-shelf characterization from his stories.

Despite by muted feelings about the script, no one can deny David Lapham is a damn good artist, and the art in issue #4 is as cool as anything he’s ever done. His insects are freakishly realistic and the underground battle scenes will make you feel claustrophobic.

There’s a lot to like about Juice Squeezers, and overall you have to applaud Lapham’s foray into the world of YA. But, unlike most of his work, it’s not a series I’ll re-read over and over again.

+ Awesome Art and Delightful Premise - Muted Characters

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