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Lowriders Blast from the Past: 11/30/22
Lowriders to the Rescue by Cathy Camper and Raúl the Third (Illustrations) (2022) is the fourth book in the Lowriders in Space graphic novel series. This one focuses on cross-culturing, gentrification, migration, and climate change. Sokar is a monarch butterfly who has come out of the mountains looking for help for the other monarchs, trapped by a raging forest fire.
Sokar speaks Arabic and wears a hijab. As Cathy Camper explains in the afterword, the previous books have focused on Raúl the Third's heritage but now she wants to include some of her own. Sokar's understanding of both Arabic and Spanish gives another interesting side to this volume, lessons on Spanish word origins that came into the language from Arabic by way of the Moors.
Sokar's vulnerability to smoke and smog segues into another main plot thread for this volume: climate change and the need to move away from fossil fuels. Flappy, who happens to be smitten with Sokar, wants desperately to find a way of converting the lowrider into a greener machine without having to give up the beautiful paint job he's done on it. The solution is solar paint, something that's theoretically possible but not quite as off the shelf as it is for Flappy.
All in all, I liked this latest volume, although it seemed less fantastical as some of the previous ones. I think it's a sign of the times, that even escapist fantasy needs to take a look at the major problems facing the world.
Like the previous three, this volume sits on the Road Narrative Spectrum. The lowriders and Sokar collectively are marginalized travelers (as every previous volume has has) (66). Their destination is the wildlands, or the forest where Sokar's family is trapped (99). Their route is an offroad one (66).