No One Else

Fantagraphics. Nov. 2021. 104p. ISBN 9781683964797. pap. $16.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Charlene is a single mother who’s so busy caring for her young son Brandon and her father that she barely has time for anything else. When her father suddenly dies, she throws herself so wholeheartedly into preparing to apply to medical school that Brandon is basically left to care for himself. He becomes consumed with locating his missing cat, Batman, who he worries may have fled into a sugar cane field near their neighborhood on Maui. Meanwhile, Charlene’s brother Robbie, a traveling musician who has returned home after falling out with his father years earlier, struggles to connect with his family and old friends. Robbie’s easygoing demeanor is slowly revealed to be a mask for seething resentment, but as his sister’s home falls into disarray and his nephew’s obsession with Batman becomes increasingly troubling, he takes it upon himself to help his family process their grief and move on with their lives.
VERDICT As he tracks a few days in the course of his characters’ lives, Johnson (Night Fisher) avoids the easy cliches typically deployed in tales that depict the grieving process; he eschews even catharsis in favor of conveying raw emotion with brutal realism.
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