Perla la Loca begins with the graphic novel "Wigwam Bam," arguably Jaime Hernandez's definitive statement on the post-punk culture. As Maggie, Hopey, and the rest of the Locas prowl Los Angeles, the East Coast, and parts in between trying to recapture the carefree spirit of those early days - except for Izzy, who tries to flee and ultimately, ironically, is the one who finds Hopey (and who unlocks the secret of Maggie and Hopey's relationship.) "Wigwam Bam" brings us up to date on all the members of Jaime's extensive cast of characters and then drops a narrative bomb on Hopey (and us) in the very last pages.
Split up from Hopey yet again, Maggie bounces back and forth between a one-laundromat town in Texas (the "Chester Square" that serves as the title of two of the strongest stories in the book), where she has to contend with both her own inner demons and a murderous hooker, and Camp Vicki, where she has to fend off her aunt Vicki's attempts to make her a professional wrestler and the unwanted advances of the amorous wrestling champ-to-be, Gina. As usual, Jaime spotlights a wide range of headstrong female characters, including Maggie's sister Esther and her cousin Xochitl; Penny Century, Hopey, and Danita show up as well, as does Rena Titaon (recently seen in Jaime's New York Times serial "La Maggie la Loca"), who, joined by the wrestler El Diablo, dominates the finale with a rousing free-for-all slugfest against six armed thugs. And what's this about Maggie getting married?