THIS REVIEW OF ‘UNNATURAL’ #1 CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.
By Sara Mitchell. Can you choose your fantasies? Or are they a wolf in the depths of your brain, hunting and stalking your mind like prey? Twisting your thoughts around its finger as you lie in bed, as you fall asleep, as you dream. Do we own our desires or do they own us? From where do they come?
If these questions paired with a bit of nudity and an overt social-political commentary on modern marriage sound like your bag, then Unnatural was made for you.
Leslie is a pig girl who’s got a great little apartment in a society not too unlike our own, except for the fact that the characters are animals. She’s got a nosey rat for a roommate, Trish; a gay goat best friend, Derek; and a nasty alligator for a boss, Mr. Hans. (But seriously, once you read Unnatural, we have got to talk about how nosey Trish is. It’s plain rude.)
In Leslie’s world, you pass advertisements everywhere promoting so-called traditional families, and they really push for those families to get started by the time you turn twenty-five. When Leslie arrives for work at the amazingly-named cafe, “Goth LOL”, everyone is watching a government-sponsored commercial on TV a-lah Netflix’s Okja. If you haven’t seen Okja, Tilda Swinton is the candy-coated villain of the story with a knack for mass market media manipulation. Take Tilda and switch her with a pony and we’re back on track. The pony encourages us to stay on the righteous path by procreating with our perfect, same-species, heterosexual, life-long soulmates. Or else. It’s all very cartoonish and terrifying.
Surprisingly though, Leslie doesn’t swim against the stream in this society. Her boss is a creep, but she stays because she needs a job. Her roommate is all. up. in. her. business (I’m looking at you, Trish) and totally judgmental, but Leslie doesn’t fight it because Trish buys her sushi and wakes her up in the morning and reminds her when rent is due. Derek seeks help from Leslie to help him cover up the relationship he is in with a pig named Sam but Leslie shuts him down, asking, “Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe there’s a reason the laws are what they are?” But Leslie is harboring a dark, dark secret.
She’s been having dreams. And not the aspirational kind about quitting her dead-end job and getting out of this town. She’s been having dreams about a wolf. These dreams are completely possessing her mind and body. She wakes up making out with her pillow, or the cup she had just been drinking out of. (And shocker! Trish is the one walking in on her. Seriously, Trish. Have you heard of knocking?) This recurring dream, if it were real, would be completely unnatural and illegal. Leslie knows this and it’s starting to weigh on her mental state. She doesn’t want to break the law, but that’s the thing. It’s just dreams. She doesn’t know a wolf. She isn’t breaking the law.
This is where our story lifts out of exposition and into the mystery—someone is following Leslie. A dark, hooded, broad-shouldered figure is watching her. He sulks outside, in the darkness, in the rain, or around the corner. We get one quick, time-stopping look into the figure’s eyes. They’re undeniably deep and seductive – the eyes of a hunter. Stalking its prey. We’re transfixed, caught in the gaze. Is he the wolf? Am I the prey? Is Leslie…? Snap me out of this.
Writer, artist and creator Mirka Andolfo gives us a glimpse at the second issue of Unnatural in the ending pages of the comic. We see a photo of young Leslie that leads me to speculate that we are headed towards a strange twist in her mental state. Let me know if you spot it. It makes me question her ability to separate imagination from reality. It’s extremely intriguing, given her intensely vivid imagination, and her tendency to uncontrollably imagine seductive, illegal situations. This one little teaser alone is a guarantee that I’ll be picking up Unnatural #2.
Written by Mirka Andolfo.
Art by Mirka Andolfo.
Colors by Mirka Andolfo.
Letters by Fabio Amelia.
6 out of 10