There are a few books that I look forward to every month, and especially so when they’re returning from hiatus — Paper Girls is easily in that top-5. The reason being that Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson and team continue to put out some of the best quality work of any book on the shelf. And that especially goes in comparison to DC Comics and Marvel.
This issue of Paper Girls being what I like to call a “return issue,” as it’s coming back from the small hiatus Image Comics‘ books take when an arc comes to a close, and man did Vaughan and Chiang not disappoint.
I’ve made note to this in previous reviews (and especially in my article reviewing most of the series thus far), but how well Vaughan makes point on picking one of the (Paper) girls and building the entire arc around said girl to delve into what makes them who they are. It looks like this arc will be focusing on Mac, as the issue puts the microscope on her and kicks off with a look into her dreams.
Seeing a more innocent and not so outwardly confident version of the cigaratte smoking, brash teen we’re used to seeing was quite the change of pace. Though that doesn’t last for long as the scene unfolds and ends with Mac taking the field hockey stick to the transformed librarian and a… “book worm”?
One of the many standouts of this issue was Wilson’s colors, as he brought a vibrancy to each page that brought every scene to life. Most colorists need to get into the groove of the series, but that hasn’t been Wilson’s case as he’s been knocking it out of the park every issue, and even raising the bar.
An interesting factor that I look forward to unfolding as the arc goes forward is the cast lineup, because we know it (mostly) changes from arc to arc. And the last couple we’ve seen one of the girls go missing, and a point of those are for the (Paper) girls to find their friend, but here we have all four… and “Double-Oh Tiff”.
Double-Oh’s design is hands down one of the best designs in the Paper Girls universe, and much credit to Chiang (and/or whoever came up with it).
How she’ll come into play through the arc is the more interesting factor of this issue (outside of what was foreshadowed). She seems quite cautious of the world around them, and more along the lines of Erin’s usual iffiness. I, to be honest, wouldn’t be surprised to see Double-Oh sacrifice herself for the girls.
But of course the real meat of this issue was the ending. Where we see the girls come upon what Erin references as “the Tree of Knowledge”. Something straight out of the bible, and even more cool to think of since the recent discovery that 90% of Earth’s animals appeared at the same time, paired with a loose equating with the Big Bang and “Let there be light”.
But I digress, and my point being that the girls find out there’s a cure to leukemia in 2171.
That seeming to be the ultimate set up for what the arc will look to accomplish as we follow it through to its end. And I think it sort of shifts the overall feel of what the title has been up to this point, and that feels refreshing. Though Grand Father is still blatantly after the paper girls, it sees that will fall secondary to Mac’s hopes and journey to get the cure to her demise.