Strangers in Paradise, vol. 4: Love Me Tender

Writer(s): Terry Moore
Artist(s): Terry Moore
Publisher: Abstract Studio
ISBN: 978-1892597038
Price: $12.95
Page count: 120
Year Released: 1997
Status: in print
Original Source: Strangers in Paradise (vol. 3) 1-5
Other Collected Edition(s): Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book, vol. 2
Genres: humor; romance/relationships
Recommended for Fans Of:
Possible Objectionable Material: adult situations; brief nudity
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Also in This Series: preceded by Strangers in Paradise, vol. 3: It’s a Good Life; followed by Strangers in Paradise, vol. 5: Immortal Enemies

Plot Summary
Volume 4 opens with a short, metaphorically inclined superhero sequence as dreamed by a future version of Francine. She is now middle-aged, unhappily married, and the mother of a 4-year-old daughter. We are told Francine hasn't seen Katchoo since she got married ten years ago. From this disheartening bit of foreshadowing we travel back to the present, where Francine and Katchoo have returned from Hawaii and are moving into a new apartment together. David confesses another part of himself to Katchoo, which leads to yet another rift between them. Then Francine suffers through a bizarre job interview at an advertising agency, lands the job, has to wear a hideous outfit for her first day at work, and ends up as the poster girl for a brand of condoms represented by her new employer (it's a long story). Meanwhile, one of Francine's new coworkers, Rachel, starts dating one of Francine's ex-boyfriends, Chuck, and she seems to be taking an unhealthy interest in both Francine and Katchoo.

My Own 2 Cents
Poor Francine reaches uncomfortable new plateaus of humiliation in this volume, which are mostly played for laughs. After a point you might begin to wonder if Moore is causing his heroine a little too much anguish, but it all works out in the end. The superhero opening to this volume will fly right over most readers' heads, since a heavy amount of "comic geek" insider information is required to understand it, as is an appreciation for the sequence's illustrator, Jim Lee (a favorite of the "tights and capes" crowd). All in all, not the strongest volume in the series, but there should be enough bright spots to keep even a casual reader interested.