Following the chronology of reprints of Love and Rockets can be tricky, as they are rightly popular enough to be regularly reprinted in a range of different formats. This mammoth book collects the stories that feature Luba – Gilbert Hernandez’s hammer-wielding, enormous-chested matriarch – as she move to America, effectively creating a sequel to his Palomar collection. Since Palomar was published, however, further reprints of the entire Palomar stories have been published, so this also follows on from the excellent Heartbreak Soup, Human Diastrophism and Beyond Palomar books. If you haven’t read either Palomar or these other three, you might be best advised to seek them out first.

Luba is perhaps the most complex and fascinating women to grace the pages of comics – or even the entirety of American literature if you’re to believe the quote on the dust jacket. Starting out in business running a bath house and later a cinema in the tiny central American town of Palomar, she goes on to become its mayor. However, as readers of the previous comics will know, Luba leaves Palomar for America, while simultaneously juggling the care of siblings, cousins and a gaggle of kids, mostly by different fathers. It’s this extended family and its relationships that is richly explored in this collection of over 100 stories, spread across 600 pages.

It goes without saying that fans of Love and Rockets and Gilbert Hernandez should do almost anything they can to get hold of this epic book. And if you aren’t a fan, that’s probably only because you’ve never read it – we recommend you explore some of his earlier Love and Rockets work immediately. You’ll be back here before you know it.

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