Maintenance Vol. 2: Fantastic Sewage & Other Stories (Oni Press)

maintenance2-header.jpgDoug and Manny are still cleaning up the messes of the mad scientists of TerroMax, but this second volume isn’t quite the same fun ride as its predecessor.



80 pgs. B&W; $9.95 softcover

(W: Jim Massey; A: Robbi Rodriguez)


Maintenance Vol. 2 offers more misadventures with long-suffering janitors Manny and Doug, who are called upon to clean up the most yucky and dangerous foul-ups of the mad scientists of TerroMax.

The cover to Maintenance Vol. 2 by Robbi Rodriguez. Click for a larger image.The first story of the collection may require a strong stomach. Manny and Doug are shrunk to microbe size and flushed down the toilet to reckon with a renegade colony of minuscule biological-warfare critters who somehow wound up in the plumbing. It’s a scatological journey with a series of jokes about corn. The story doesn’t really go anywhere; it’s more of an excuse for writer Jim Massey’s talent for one-liners.

The second story is about a monster made of liquid coffee that attacks the scientists during an employee-appreciation party. It ends without resolution, so presumably the tale continues with the next trade paperback. Strange. Shouldn’t the book end with a bit more closure?

Robbi Rodriguez’s art is still the bomb. His glee in drawing a mad scientist with a geeky bowl haircut, a depressed "Manshark" floating alone in his tank, and the adorable "clogoids" who make their home in the commode is evident.

The humor that made Maintenance Vol. 1 a fun ride is largely absent here. It’s no fun to call a comic lukewarm, but it’s even less fun to buy it and discover it afterward. The many misspellings in Vol. 2 indicate a lazy job by the book’s editor, too. Let’s hope Vol. 3 is more inspired, with writing that lives up to the promise of the wild, cartoonish art. | Byron Kerman

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