Written by Nicolas Aflleje
Illustrated by Sarah DeLaine
Published by Image Comics
This book is a slice of life kind of graphic novel. And I just loved it. It reminds me of the work of Nick Drnaso and Adrian Tomine, but the book is it’s own thing completely. It is a quiet and powerful book that moves at a nice clip.
The story and art work in harmony and feel like the creators are in perfect sync with each other.
We start off the book at the home of Sam. Her family has moved her to Ethiopia. Her dad wakes her up and tells her that he doesn’t want her to be late. She gets up and heads to school. We get to see how displaced she is right from the get go. The illustrations really show her loneliness as well with their framing.
We are then introduced to Lielet.
Lielet is a young girl who lives in Ethiopia and who doesn’t fit in. We first see her getting picked on by a bunch of young girls. Lielet is a tomboy and a fight almost breaks out about a supposed monster that is out there. Sam watches this happen.
Then, the bullies disperse. Sam asks Lielet if she is okay. The two form an unlikely friendship and then the book is off!
The pair meet late at night to conduct an investigation into this ancient brain eating monster. Having not known anything about this book before reading it, I just followed it along. The images were powerful and each page led into the next with a sense of dread. The tension builds throughout the comic. And then it gets really dark!
This book never forgets that the two lead characters are young, however. This informs their characters well. We get to see them deal with all of the things that young women have to deal with. It gives the book more weight than just your standard monster hunting book.
I don’t want to give away too much but suffice to say that they do encounter the monster that they are looking for. It’s poignant and thrilling as these two outcasts have to rely on each other in order to survive. By the end of this book I was exhausted and thrilled to have read this. It’s entertaining and powerful.
Writer Nicolas Aflleje and artist Sarah Delaine make for one hell of a team. They are comfortable with their collaboration right from the get go. The colors in this book by Ashley Lanni deserve a mention too as they are quite excellent. You can’t get much better than this.