With an impressive creative team consisting of writer Magdalene Visaggio, who has been kicking ass at Black Mask for the past few years, and Sonny Liew, an artist hailing from Singapore who wrote and illustrated the Eisner winning graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, Eternity Girl was one of the comics I was most excited for this year. It follows Caroline Sharp, an overachiever since childhood, who out of college joined a secretive government organization and accidentally gained the power to shape and form herself and any matter within thirty feet of her. She became the superhero Chrysalis and fought her arch nemesis, Madame Atom, in a bitter tug of war for years. After Madame Atom dies and Caroline’s abilities go haywire, she becomes suicidal, but she cannot die no matter how many times or ways she tries.
I don’t know about you, but for my money, “an immortal suicidal superhero who teams up with her arch nemesis to destroy space and time itself so she can finally die” is the single best elevator pitch of all time. The actual book goes so far past that initial summary though — there’s a lot more to love here. Caroline’s powers are unlike any I’ve seen in a comic. She’s a shapeshifter basically, but she’s also somewhat of a god, and there’s a lot to explore within the parameters of her powers.
There’s also the use and handling of her depression and suicidal tendencies. Suicide is a tough subject to breach in any form of fiction, and as someone who has experienced (not practically obviously, I’m not an elemental shape shifting immortal) these same feelings, I believe it was handled with care and consideration. Caroline’s frustration with her treatment by her work, and the hopelessness she feels within herself because of her inability to escape this frustration, was spot on. Approaching the subject from the lens of “what if you were suicidal, but you couldn’t die” is smart and undercuts some of the macabre elements of it all. It’s still heavy, but appropriately so for a fantasy story like this.
The art is interesting, though simplified at times. I really liked the visuals of the different forms Caroline’s appearance took, from the blue crystals on her face to her red bird feet. Another great style element was that when there’s a flashback panel, the style subtly changes to look like a vintage comic book complete with tight dot overlay. The color palette of the comic is subdued with pops of bright color, and it echoes the subject matter.
This first issue of Eternity Girl is a thoughtful comic, approaching its heavy subject matter well, and has a unique visual style that might not wow you, but blends effortlessly with the story. Young Animal has worked hard to form a cohesive mood between comics while still letting the creators try new things and keep true to the stories they want to tell. This series continues this and adds another great feather into the imprint’s cap. Trippy at times, Eternity Girl is a welcome addition to any alternative comic fan’s collection.
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