By Brandy Dykhuizen and Courtney Ryan. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while squeezing in a new review or two before it’s all over. Did we miss your favorite books this week? Well. This is where you need to be.
Paper Girls #10
Written by Brian K. Vaughan.
Illustrated by Cliff Chiang.
Colors by Matt Wilson.
Letters by Jared K. Fletcher.
CR: It would seem that Brian K. Vaughn seems content to cease spinning his wheel of genres, settling on 80s nostalgia, alien sci-fi, and time-hopping mystery for Paper Girls. Since we’re no longer blindsided by unexpected appearances of UFOs or dinosaurs—for now, I think—we can start to make some sense of the book’s complex plot, though this remains one nutty ride. And that’s fine by me.
We catch up with our pre-teen paper girls in 2016, where they are far away from their home in cozy November of 1988. There’s still no trace of KJ, and the other three girls are stuck trying to determine who among their new friends has their backs and who might be dangerously deceptive. We do get a little peek at what their enemies are up to and we’re even provided a small hint towards their motives. Vaughan continues to develop his heroines’ characters and roots his rather confusing tale in their friendship and relatable personalities, so even when the story is hard to follow it’s still fun. Once again, the writer manages to end this issue on a discomfiting note, only this time we’re left asking, “what will happen next?” instead of “what the hell just happened?”
Cliff Chiang’s incredible artwork and Matt Wilson’s perfect 80s-meets-space-adventure colors are what lend the comic its vitality. Their diligence keeps Vaughan from steering this saga too far from our grasp. Weird eyeball monsters are just as easy to perceive as a grateful look between sisters, and when the girls jump from one dimension to another we find ourselves right behind them.
Paper Girls #10 concludes its second arc by continuing the bizarre quest we began last year without sacrificing what made the story so charming in the first place: Smart adolescent girls bonding as they experience the fear and inertia that comes with being twelve.
8.5 out of 10
Aftershock Comics, $3.99
Written by Warren Ellis.
Art by Phil Hester.
Colors by Mark Englert.
Letters by Marshall Dillon.
BD: Well. This book is certainly unafraid to be diametrically opposed to itself. For the story, what begins as text shifts into subtext. When we think we’re looking, the story moves ahead of us, morphing into something else. This type of “catch me if you can” writing is unsurprising coming from Warren Ellis, but it definitely fits for a story that features a secret organization named Janus, named for the classical two-faced god of time, who simultaneously faces forward and backwards. It seems so obvious… and yet.
It’s possible to feel a bit insulted by Ellis’ over-explaining. In an extended sequence loaded with dialogue that trips over itself like a poor translation of an alien language, we get plot subtleties literally spelled out for us (“I always thought it was spelled a-u-g-u-r, you know. But it’s not. A-u-g-e-r auger…”), lest Phil Hester’s protracted (as in pages long) visual cues fail to remind us that, yes, homophones can be fun.
Hester does well to offer transitions between two seemingly unrelated stories. His oft-echoed bird and spider themes fit perfectly within the dueling narratives, underscoring the augury and matricide, telling us there are somehow connections found amidst the craziness. Like a hull dashed upon rocks in a storm, Shipwreck is all over the place, but that may be the point. This is a perfect book for those with a passion to divine a story through scattered clues and broken fragments left at ground zero.
6.5 out of 10
From earlier this week —
What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.