is the first comic series by Brian Wood
, later to become more famous with titles like Northlanders
. Many of Wood's later works are known for their serious and downbeat treatment of violence and its consequences. The Couriers
... Er, Not so much
The series started with what was meant to be a one-off graphic novel, Couscous Express
, with art by Brett Weldele. Wood then produced three further graphic novels about the same characters with art by Rob G: The Couriers
, Dirtbike Manifesto
, and The Ballad of Johnny Funwrecker
. They were all originally published by AiT/Planet Lar, but a 2012 combined volume came out from Image Comics
The series revolves around Moustafa and Special, two young "couriers" who specialise in the kind of loads that normal courier companies don't handle because they are illegal, or so in demand that they're likely to attract every gunman in town to try to steal them at gunpoint. Usually, it's both. Oh, and they also do general bodyguarding and occasionally just shoot people for money.
The Couriers provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Moustafa's girlfriend Olive doesn't usually get mixed up in his and Special's business, but when necessary she can defend herself pretty well.
- Art Imitates Art: The original back cover of The Couriers depicts the major characters in the style and poses from the iconic poster of Trainspotting.
- Asian Speekee Engrish: Johnny Funwrecker has a mild case of this.
- Bare Your Midriff: Olive in Couscous Express and Special in The Couriers.
- Bastard Understudy: Special to Johnny Funwrecker.
- The Big Rotten Apple: Although the characters like it that way.
- Bodyguard Babes: Deconstructed with Johnny Funwrecker's hot young female bodyguards. Everyone knows they're just to indulge his fetishes, Special is the only competent one among them, and she destroys his organisation and moves into the vacant space because she's fed up with him seeing her only as eye candy.
- Bullet Proof Vest: Moustafa resorts to one when a PLA special forces team comes after him. He still gets mocked for it.
- Car Fu
- Character Overlap: Jennie from Wood's story Channel Zero makes a cameo in The Couriers.
- Collector of the Strange: The General.
- Comic Book Fantasy Casting: A walk-on ally of Special's is based on Wood's art collaborator on other work, Becky Cloonan.
- Cool Bike: Mous's dirt bike, and Olive's Vespa.
- Cool Car: Special's 1967 Chevy Camaro SS
- Courier: Naturally.
- Dark Action Girl: Special. And she's one of the protagonists.
- Designated Girl Fight: Special and Becky
- Even Evil Has Standards: Moustafa and Special won't touch anything involving human trafficking.
- Every Scar Has A Story: Subverted, as Special always refuses to explain the scar on her cheek to anyone. It's finally revealed that she got it in a gun battle with a murderous ex-boyfriend.
- Everyone Is Armed
- Evil Counterpart: Becky, the militia's Small Girl, Big Gun, to Special, although Special is arguably pretty evil herself.
- Gang of Hats: The Turkish Scooter Mafia. Literally, as they all wear fezes.
- Generic Ethnic Crime Gang: The Turkish Scooter Mafia
- The Ghost: Hot Sauce
- Gun Fu
- Heroic Bloodshed: A US comics version of the genre.
- Knowledge Broker: Hot Sauce
- Multiple Choice Past: In Couscous Express, Moustafa's first-person narration suggests that he grew up in a rough housing project as Olive's neighbour. The Ballad of Johnny Funwrecker instead depicts him as the rebellious son of extremely wealthy but neglectful and abusive parents.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Olive after her impulsive grenade attack on the Turkish Scooter Mafia ignites a full-on gang war and nearly gets her parents killed.
- Nominal Hero: On the very borderline between this and Villain Protagonist.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Moustafa taking out all the PLA goons who storm his apartment.
- Origins Episode / Whole Episode Flashback: "The Ballad of Johnny Funwrecker" explains how Mous and Special first met and started their partnership.
- Platonic Life Partners: Mous and Special
- Politically Incorrect Villain: The militia types in Dirtbike Manifesto make their opinion of Mous's Middle Eastern origins pretty clear.
- Right Wing Militia Fanatic: The other side in Dirtbike Manifesto.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Dirtbike Manifesto revolves around Mous and Special going after an upstate redneck militia who killed one of their friends and occasional helpers.
- Rollerblade Good: Mous and Special at times.
- Satisfied Street Rat: Special
- Small Girl, Big Gun: Special and several other characters.
- Tattooed Crook: Mous has tribal tattoos all over his shoulders, Special has a smaller one on her shoulder blade, and Johnny Funwrecker is heavily tattooed all over.
- Training from Hell: Delivered by Special to Mous in The Ballad of Johnny Funwrecker.
- The Triads and the Tongs: Johnny Funwrecker, and the General's lackies in the first part of The Couriers.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Mous and Special were respectively 12 and 15 when they first joined Johnny Funwrecker's gang, and Special at least was already a highly experienced hood.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Johnny Funwrecker
- World of Badass: The series is set in an NYC where bicycle couriers routinely carry Uzis and running gunfights down the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway attract little police interest.