The big, blaring message I took away after reading The Trip was this; don’t do drugs. It almost felt like the D.A.R.E. program on steroids, combined with the campiness from an 80’s horror movie that was shown only once at the drive-in before the film caught fire. Stand aside Reefer Madness, there’s a new story to scare the living daylights out of the youngsters.
An original graphic novel from Action Lab’s DANGER ZONE line for mature readers, The Trip revolves around a group of teenagers who take a trip to a cabin in the middle of the desert to party. After ditching their psychedelic mushrooms when getting pulled over by a cop, they find a local Native American dealer who sells them his grandfather’s Toloache, aka “The Demon Weed” that’s traditionally used in a tribal rites of passage. Little do they realize that the drug is so potent, that it has the ability to kill whoever intakes it.
The drug causes you to hallucinate and face your biggest fear, and it’s up to you to conquer what you’re most afraid of. As expected, no one but the heroine Karen is able to hold their own, and the rest die horrible grizzly deaths that would make Eli Roth pop an erection. Karen’s biggest fear is her abusive step-dad finding her again, who as luck would have it, was just released from jail and is on the warpath looking to find her and fuck-up her life.
While the story reads like a bad rejected horror movie, David Brame’s art and Heather Breckel’s colors are by far the biggest redeeming qualities of this book. Having a style similar to Becky Cloonan and Ryan Kelly, Brame is able to take the reader on a journey through the minds of our druggie heroes, and see the terrifying psychedelic images that they are subjected to. I can see Grant Morrison picking this book up, ignoring the word bubbles, and totally understand what’s happening with their bad trips. Letting just the art tell the story could possibly improve this graphic novel.
From what I’ve read of the Action Lab: Danger Zone titles so far, I’m unimpressed overall. The concepts are trying too hard to be ‘mature’ and ‘edgy,’ that it sometimes reminds me of an 8 year-old kid discovering the words ‘fuck’ and ‘cunt’ for the first time (so basically, anything ever written by Mark Millar). The Trip wasn’t the worst comic I’ve ever read, but it was definitely mediocre as a whole. If Action Lab really wants their Danger Zone line to flourish, they’ve got to start taking the time to produce quality stories, and stop with the DC approach of throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks.
The Trip (Action Lab: Danger Zone)
Written by Jesse Grillo
Illustrated by David Brame
Colors by Heather Breckel
96 Pages, FC