Fantagraphics. Jul. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9781683964384. $29.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Years after an unexplained invasion devastates the mainland, an island called Celestia serves as a refuge for riffraff and oddballs like Pierrot, a loner prone to speaking in poetic verse. When a woman named Dora pleads for Pierrot’s help to escape telepaths—just as he is being targeted by gangsters—the pair flee the island. The mainland is far from being the wasteland they’d expected, and it’s much weirder. Wandering the idyllic countryside, they encounter a series of Escheresque fortresses, where people old enough to remember life prior to the invasion cower, while supernaturally gifted children prepare to begin society anew. Fior (Red Ultramarine) eschews exposition in favor of narrative momentum and an incisive focus on his characters’ emotional development, resulting in an at-times bewildering, but uncommonly moving, glimpse of the future.
VERDICT An imaginative and skillfully told story about characters and a world reeling from trauma but poised for a new beginning. Fior’s talent for conveying emotion evokes both heartache and awe.
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