GRAPHIC NOVELS
Girl Town
Top Shelf: IDW. Nov. 2018. 160p. ISBN 9781603094382. pap. $19.99. F
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OrangeReviewStarNowak (Lumberjanes) tosses off more wildly imaginative ideas per page than some creators have over their entire careers in this invigorating collection of short stories. In the opening piece, a woman kicked out of astronaut school for being too attractive pines for her neighbor, whose arm mysteriously vanishes overnight. The next story, which follows two friends as they shop at a market specializing in fantastic goods and bizarre attractions, is charming and funny right up until the end, when it becomes extremely poignant. The standout piece follows and stars a woman with an electric tongue (she lost the original in a motorcycle accident) who attempts to get over her ex by purchasing a robot boyfriend. That might sound like a premise straight out of Black Mirror, but Nowak makes it her own by eschewing heady speculation about artificial intelligence in favor of a probing yet tender character study.
VERDICT Nowak's characters banter, bicker, and yearn for love, connection, and acceptance. Their world isn't quite ours, but their struggles are familiar and very entertaining.

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