Saturday, May 20, 2006

Girls: Emergence

The second volume of The Luna Brothers' Girls opens immediately where the previous book left off (collecting issues #7-12) , with the first chapter chalk-full of non-stop action as the remaining Pennystown citizens fight/run for their lives. I like Girls. I don't think it's as strong as The Luna Brothers' first major work, Ultra: Seven Days, but it is a suspenseful, intriguing story. It's basically a post-apocalyptic story like the ten thousand zombie stories out there, but it's focused on a specific area (the small town of Pennystown, population 65), and the zombies that are after the characters are replaced by a group of pitiless girl clones, who have some sort of specific, mysterious objectives. They're some sort of alien, but it's hard to predict what they'll do and what other surprises they've brought along with them. It's a mystery and a survival tale. War of the Worlds meets Dawn of the Dead. Very strange, but effective. The Luna Brothers pace their story masterfully by slowly unveiling circumstances to the group of survivors, and balancing a good mix of sit-around-talking-trying-to-understand-their-situation-while-tensions-run-high scenes with the action and thrills. I'd say one of the biggest hurdles of the work is the cast. It's pretty extensive. It's getting smaller all the time, but sometimes I just have no idea who someone is when they bite the dust. There is a small group of characters, on the other hand, that are easily recognizable who really are the thrust of the story and tension between the group who I really do feel for and cross my fingers for survival (or a slow, painful death, as it were). The characters have real issues and harbor real secrets that they want to keep from the others, and act in disgusting ways when confronted with life-or-death situations. A few moments with characters felt a bit off, though. The "wise" priest's observations were brushed off a few times before he explained what he meant (I was rolling my eyes when it happened more than once), and one kid is constantly getting the group into trouble by hurling himself into things (dealing with his pain or whatever), but for the most part, the soap opera elements are interesting and keep the slow moments with the cast that build their characters almost as fun to read as the sci-fi aspects of the story. I'm genuinely intrigued by the events and love the moments when things start going wrong. And, as always, I love Jonathon Luna's art. I think he works best with his own material like Girls over something like Spider-woman: Origin, but I just generally like his style, how he depicts the action and alien scenes, as well as the quiet moments. This book is heavy on the nudity, as the girl clones run around nude, but even more blatant is the violence. There's a sequence that just shows someone's head getting smashed in over a few panels. Very brutal. But, man do I love it. It's one of the most exciting books I'm currently reading, though it does have its flaws. I am definitely a Luna Brothers fan.

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