Writer & Artist: Andrew MacLean
Now and in months to come, the comic book market is being inundated with event tie ins and new Superhero number 1 issues. While there is certainly a fair share of “indie” or really just non big 2 (Marvel and DC) companies filling the shelves with different genres, it can be hard to really dig through everything and find a specific type of story. Occasionally when getting to some of these other stories, I get to come across an OGN or one shot story, which tend to me some of my favorites (i.e. Habibi, Essex County, Box Office Poison). When ApocalyptiGirl came to my attention, I saw one preview page and had to get my hands on it.
Without getting too much into it (even though there really isn’t a way for me to spoil this without doing a complete summary), we follow Aria, a young woman with immense skill, as she searches a post apocalyptic city for a hidden, ancient, artifact. Accompanied by her trusty cat companion in Jelly Beans, Aria fights her way through the terrain, encountering the volatile Blue Strips and Greybeards. This is a very fun, very exciting adventure story; in the vain of Samurai Jack, but for older audiences.
I immediately thought this story was going to be a little all ages, but was fairly quickly proven wrong (with the title of the book, I have no idea why I thought that.) There are a few scenes which get pretty bloody, but less gore than one would think. Limbs are being strewn about, but it never gets gross. This could be from the subdued coloring on the book, which is spot on. Even though these fantastical actions are happening, it’s not overly flashy; it doesn’t take away from the narrative.
The art and text work really well in this work. MacLean doesn’t add much text to a lot of this, letting the images speak for themselves, which gives the overall story a quick pace which an adventure tale like this would call for. When we go into heavy narrative for background info or description of locales, the art matches that, either in a stylistic change like in the history, or in different layouts when describing a setting. He allows the reader to study the pages pertinent to the story without getting bogged down. There’s no standing and pontificating here, all action, and no space wasted.
Along that line of thinking, the art here is confident, concise, and beautiful. He doesn’t fill the page with hatching and shading, rather, he has a clean, confident line lending the art to excellent storytelling. His panel layouts draw attention to necessary pieces, and allows us to feel like we’re in the room, looking around in real time. Stylistically, the art feels strongly influenced by the work of Guy Davis. with a manga-ish tinge, similar to the aforementioned Samurai Jack. In a lot of ways, this felt like an episode from that series, so any fan of Jack should seek this out.
Even there the overall story was a little sparse, this book was a very nice departure from the comic norm. Andrew MacLean is looking to be one of the strongest up and comers in the industry, and I’m excited to see where he goes from here. I would love to revisit Aria’s world, and with a $9.99 price point for this much content, this is massive “bang for your buck”
4.5 Defunct Robots out of 5
Reviewed by: Brett Israel
Advance copy provided by Dark Horse for review. ApocalyptiGirl will be on sale on May 20th.