Paper Girls: Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
When I read the first volume of this series, I didn’t have a clue what was going on but there were panels that hinted at a plot; enough of them that I wasn’t annoyed by the fact that I’d read an entire volume without really understanding what story I was being told. After the second volume, I find myself decidedly disgruntled that I still couldn’t tell you what’s going on. There are some alien-type creatures, some time travel and some pterodactyls. It’s not that it isn’t entertaining, it’s just that it doesn’t make any sense. The story in this volume is set in 2016 and sees the paper girls from the first volume seeking out their future selves and trying to work out who/what they’re up against. There are some moving scenes as the girls get glimpses of their futures but there’s mostly just a lot of scrambling about, careering from random incident to random incident.
The art still has an 80s feel to it and I really liked the purple tones to the colouring. The dialogue is sharp and funny and the teenagers’ chatter feels authentic. If it wasn’t for that, I’d be panning the volume completely. I guess that the problem is that I want to like the series. There are bits about it that I like and I can’t shake the feeling that there’s a revelation right around the corner that will tie everything together and floor me. I might still pick up the third volume when the library has it but I still can’t shake the frustrated feeling that I’m just disappointed by it. I had patience with the first volume but I think that two full volumes comprising what I think is eight issues is too long to wait for a story (or much of anything that makes sense) to emerge.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Now this was more like it! I loved this volume. It’s not the most sophisticated story but it’s bloody good fun. It follows Gert, a forty year old woman who has been trapped in the body of a six year old after arriving in Fairyland as a child. Where most children get whisked away to Fairyland and spend a day questing before safely returning home, Gert got whisked away to Fairyland and got stuck. And she’s not at all happy about that or about the live narration of her failings. This volume is the first five issues of the series, chronicling Gert’s latest efforts to finally get home.
The humour in this was just to my taste. It’s dry and sarcastic and while I might not have been laughing out loud, it did definitely elicit a few sniggers. I particularly loved Larrigon Wentworth, Gert’s long-suffering guide to Fairyland and king of deadpan put-downs. The colours are bright and vibrant and the contrast between the girly bubblegum colours and the fairly significant amount of gore is inspired. It’s probably not one for the squeamish or for younger readers as there are many panels with beheadings, maimings and other bloody happenings but if you’re not fussed about that kind of thing, I’d absolutely recommend giving this a try. I’ll definitely be buying the next volume soon and I’ll save it for when I want something that I can rely on to give me some laughs.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars