** SPOILERS **
Our cover boy, Rughead, isn't the most compelling of foes, though the manner of his final demise is imaginative. Things really begin to pop when the long-thought-dead Mumbles unexpectedly returns as the calypso-singing (?!?) tutor to the wild children of healthy-living fanatic George Ozone. Actually, while Mumbles is in good, muttering, murderous form, Ozone is the most memorable figure in the ensuing adventure, though he doesn't hang around for very long. He's a classic "tweener," claiming that his exercise regimen and "ozone pellets" will help save mankind from a sedentary fate, while at the same time attempting to dodge the taxman by burying his boys Neki and Hokey's inheritance in an out-of-the-way place. I wonder whether Chester Gould got the idea for Ozone from George Herriman's short-lived strip MAJOR OZONE'S FRESH AIR CRUSADE.
Oodles, of course, would later enjoy the singular honor of being included in the rotating rogue's gallery on UPA's Dick Tracy Show, voiced by Howard Morris, no less. Thankfully, the animated series presented the character in his original, mop-haired form. When the on-the-run oaf tries to throw off the coppers by losing weight and shaving his head, the end result is NOT a pretty sight.
You seem entirely too... eager there, Dick.
Is that Oodles' hair or a deflated souffle?
Lizz enters the picture after her sister falls victim to the vaguely Brando-esque hood Joe Period, who might be described as Gould's first concerted effort to fully come to grips with a pop-culture archetype of the 1950s. After what would seem to be an unrealistically short period of training, Lizz is on the case, attempting to bring Joe to justice. Thankfully, Gould doesn't fall victim to the temptation to make her a completely competent cop from the off; her early efforts include more than a few bungles. Clearly, however, Gould realized that he had a winner in this character, and he will bring her along nicely in the coming years, though she won't really come into her own until the 60s and 70s.
As the volume ends, Joe Period and Flattop Jr. are allied and attempting to evade the fuzz in Flattop's impressively high-tech car. The two-teen dynamic is one that Gould had never tried before, and he carries it off well, though he makes no serious attempt to mimic the slang that teens were speaking during this era. (Well, Joe Period does use the occasional "baby," which I suppose counts for something.)
Reproduction of daily strips continues to be a bit of a problem, as it has been in a number of the most recent volumes. A lot of the fine detail in the dailies, particularly those from '55, simply isn't visible. I greatly respect IDW's production quality and certainly hope that their creative team isn't slacking off as the number of volumes grows.