Review: Daytripper #6

Published on May 20th, 2010

Oh comics. I love you so, there are so many good stories you tell, but, there is something amiss between us. I’m sorry comics, but it has to be said: all the banners, all the epic fights, all the deaths, I’m all tuckered out. Please comics, it’s not you, it’s me, please can you stop the endless event books?  Please can you give me stand alone stories and relatable characters?

Dear reader,

Have you had this conversation lately? Maybe not directly at comics like me, but are you also burnt out from our diet of 90% events with a couple of event related one-shots sprinkled in? Don’t get me wrong, the events that are coming out of the big 2, for the most part are very good, but, with great impact comes great effort.  These books are so involved,  you really have to keep up with everything around them, everything in the past, know tons about every character and it’s exhausting!

This week amongst all the Siege and Brightest Day hoopla, I was relieved to find an escape in the exquisite comic that was Daytripper #6.


Daytripper, for those of you who haven’t picked it up, tells the story of a man named Bras who writes obituaries.  Each issue places him at a certain age in his life, takes him on a common man adventure and ends with his death.  There  are a number of things that could explain the overarching story of this series. I honestly don’t know what it is but I imagine that each issue is a way his life could’ve turned out, decisions he could have made, or just imaginings he’s having.  I’m sure at some point it will become more clear what is going on, but on an issue to issue basis I am so enjoying the trip.

This issues story is called 33, as with the prior issue, just a number, which so far as I can tell is the indication of  his current age. The comic opens with a man in a cafe, talking to the man behind the counter.  The man behind the counter comments that the other man looks tired and we learn our mystery man is a trucker, who has never been on a plane.  This all comes up in reaction to the newscast being shown about flight delays and cancellations.  At this point we have no clue what is going on, or what any of the has to do with Bras but we will and so I’m bothering telling you so.

We then skip to one month in the past at the airport and we observe typical chatter and happenings. A flight is overbooked, a kid is impatient and people are boarding a plane. We see a traffic jam and are privy to bits of news on the radio saying there is a “chaotic situation”  and that it’s unconfirmed what exactly has happened at the airport . Finally we see a real estate agent showing a group a posh residence. When she takes them onto a Balcony we see smoke in the distance and tears in her eyes.

If you haven’t figure it out yet, there was a plane crash at the airport and Bras is greeted by the news upon his arrival to work. His boss tells him to go to the airport, so he can cover the deaths. Investigative on scene obituaries seems a bit odd, but we go with it.  The story continues to unfold at the scene. Bras is talking with a photographer from work about his best friend Jorge. The photographer ask Bras if he’s heard from him since he was meant to be coming back from Rio that day. This is the part of the comic we find out in a cruel way that the fallen plane was coming in from Rio.

Talk about mystery and a well written unfolding tale. We’re given a man in a cafe, bits of news on a radio and a real estate tour all leading to the reveal that a plane has crashed and it may have been carrying a central person in Bras’ life. As it turns out, Bras’ best friend Jorge is unreachable and Bras is beginning to fear the worst.   He continues with his job and as the names of the victims come in, we are treated to the obits that he’s written for various passengers, and that continues on for quite a few scenes, each one a pause in the comic to keep us thinking of all the loss and wondering if the next one will be of Jorge. Brilliant.

There’s a scene where Bras’ wife tries to comfort him and mentions that he might consider letting Jorge’s parents know he’s dead, although even now as time has passed there is no confirmation of that.  Then finally we get a break.  Bras receives a phone call from Jorge! He’s alive and now Bras is pissed. We find out it’s been a month that he’s wondered if his friend is alive and he demands an explanation. Jorge explains that he’s a had a life crisis. He was on the next flight from Rio that day, he was on the plane and was evacuated once news of the crash came through.  He says that he’s realized the there is nothing extraordinary in his life and life was too short to live any other way.  This conversation like many in the book and the series as a whole really resonates and makes you question life and the way you live it. The quality of writing is at the same time accessible and impactful . Everything about this comic draws you in the art, the mystery  and the care with which each piece of dialogue is written.  When I read this book I am fully consumed by it’s world.

The conversation with Jorge ends with his declaration that he’s never coming home and that Bras won’t hear from him again. Bras, unable to talk any sense into his friend leaves to go find Jorge to Rio in hopes he can change his mind.  The comic ends with Bras in the car  where who else is on the road but our sleepy truck driver from page one! We see the start of a car crash and the bottom of the page had Bras’ inevitable obituary. Poor, poor Bras, they just keep killing him. And always off panel.

I cannot say enough nice things about this series, creators Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba have surpassed even my high expectations.  If you’re looking for a good read this one is tops.

R.I.P. Bras

~Dana Shukartsi