Top Shelf: IDW. Feb. 2020. 392p. ISBN 9781603094597. pap. $29.99. Rated: Mature. F
Acclaimed Swiss cartoonist Peeters (The Smell of Starving Boys) examines the complexity of human relationships—among friends, lovers, parents and their children—in this moving and unpredictable sf epic. While reconnecting on a drug-fueled interplanetary fishing trip, recent college graduate Lupus and military veteran and best friend Tony encounter a mysterious young woman named Sanaa, who insists on tagging along. The ensuing love triangle is soon interrupted by a bounty hunter determined to return Sanaa to her family. An act of shocking violence and some thrilling action sequences follow, but Peeters’s true interest lies in dwelling on the quiet moments spent between dashes for sanctuary, first in a village inhabited by aging anarchists and later within an abandoned space station manned by malfunctioning robots, where forced intimacy leads to intense bonding, bickering, bitter resentments, and—while calling this a love story would be a real stretch—something like romance.
VERDICT Peeters is a compositional genius, utilizing stunning swaths of negative space and thick fields of inky darkness that imbue nearly every panel on every page of this volume with dynamism and pathos.

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