Time Magazine cover; January 18, 1999

There’s one thing for sure about the always amazing PAPER GIRLS, and that’s an awesome story every issue which melds reality into the fantastic intensity that is temporal shifting.

Sometimes I’ll sit back and look at a title I’m currently picking up since its release– like PAPER GIRLS, and I’ll just take it in. The reason being that it [and many other titles I get now] would never have been in my “Fat Stack” 10-years, hell, let alone almost 5-years ago. I think from a quality of story perspective, it shows how great PAPER GIRLS is to have pulled me — who was a sole DC Comics guy — into its absolutely great world.

I found myself taking a moment [again] after reading PAPER GIRLS #17, and that because it’s what I crave as a reader.

Brian K. Vaughan (writer) is literally one of the best in the industry, and has been for a while; with being responsible for stories like Y THE LAST MAN, and SAGA. I don’t know if he’s managed to unlock the key to writing great stories week in and week out, or if he’s just winging it, but either way he understands how to throw out a line and reel you in every issue. And in issue seventeen, BKV connected the first arc to the current in a flawless manner.

Art by Cliff Chiang, Colors by Matt Wilson

Drawing a line directly back to THE TEENAGERS [whom we were introduced to in the initial arc,] and to CHARLOTTE in the current time period they’re in enhances the depth to the overall story. Having that she’s been helping them through her comic strip with coded messages, and her almost Stockholm-esque infatuation with them gives off a very radical layer to their [the Teenagers’] overall crusade, as well as her [Charlotte’s] character.

From the very beginning you get a bad feeling about Charlotte, and that’s cemented in this issue when we see the writing on the walls [literally,] and her pulling a gun on our paper girls. I think it was a great sleight of hand with who was really in danger, and needing of saving; since we [and the paper girls] were led to believe it was Tiffany, but now it’s clear Erin, Mac and KJ are the one’s who need rescuing.

Art by Cliff Chiang, Colors by Matt Wilson

That’s really been one of the successes of this title, the little twists and turns that grab you by the throat and won’t let go.

I’m definitely seeing a trend with each arc succeeding the initial, and that being that they establish a layer of validity behind one of the paper girls. The second arc doing such for Erin as the [paper] girls come across Erin’s future self, and an “alternate” version. The third definitely working for Mac, as we saw she really is the backbone of the four, and what’s to come for her. And now with Tiffany, which looks like we’ll be discovering she’s the “lion” of the group– the bravest.

I know, I know, I know, I sound like a broken record with what I’m about to again drill into,

Art by Cliff Chiang, Colors by Matt Wilson

Comedy. Organic comedy, and PAPER GIRLS has shown time and time again [thus far] that it has a firm grasp on how to utilize it, and enhance moments in the story with it.
Literally one of the funniest moments (above panels) I’ve ever read in a comic. And I love that it’s building on what we discovered may be coming from last arc, as well as heightening the tension between KJ and Mac.

Of course I couldn’t go a review without praising the amazing Cliff Chiang (artist,) as he’s just a machine with pumping out quality work, and always managing to capture emotion and the world, and era at hand with flawless success.

The cliffhanger ending to this issue definitely reminded me more along the lines of an ending to the previous arcs, just in pure shock factor alone. Seeing a very– um, one could say goth guy sitting in the living room alone, drinking away as he’s expecting the world to come to an end. I turned the page expecting for Tiffany to see herself, very much so like Erin did at the end of the first arc, so seeing him was a huge shock.

Art by Cliff Chiang, Colors by Matt Wilson

Now, the even larger shock factor was what came on the final page of the issue, and that being that he is Tiffany’s husband. It kind of makes me wonder if what the paper girls have done across the time line has caused this to be, or if it’s a natural occurrence, which is another thing I love about PAPER GIRLS. It really gets your mind turning and wondering about things, as well as exposes you to “space and time travel” in a manner that someone who isn’t familiar could understand.

So let me say that this issue definitely left me wanting more after the ending, and more so than a normal issue within an arc. More [as I said] along the lines of a wrap up issue to an arc.

I can probably name about a handful (two at most) of titles that consistently put out A+ quality work every month. Looking solely at this issue, it does that on all fronts; from story to art, and even colors (which the color wizard Matt Wilson crushed in this issue).

You can find this epic issue on the shelf of your nearest comic book shop, and PAPER GIRLS #18 will be there Wednesday, December 6th,

The future invades.

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