"Beasts of Burden"
Writer: Leah Moore & John Reppion
Artists: Shawn McManus with an assist by J.H. Williams for a vignette
Leah Moore proves to be a chip off the old block with Wild Girl. It's funny that this book is being marketed to the usual comic book demographic because Wild Girl really could be children's lit. Not the kind that people believe children's lit to be, but actual children's lit in the mold of C.S. Lewis or Frank L. Baum.
The Reppion/Moore story introduces Rosa who has the ability for some unknown reason to communicate with animals. From there Ms. Moore and Mr. Reppion follow the heroine through an upending of Campbell's concept of a hero's journey.
Foreshadowing becomes the basis for surprise as the book progresses, and some may complain about the promise of violence if not worse as inappropriate for kids, but I'd like remind readers that Oz was not meant to delight but to terrify, and Aslan was ritually stabbed dead by the Witch of Narnia.
Shawn McManus provides pretty artwork suited for the story. McManus is the perfect choice for this book since he has worked inside and outside the super-hero subgenre of comic books. He is familiar with decompression and compression. This experience gives Wild Girl just the right visual feel in the panels. It's literate without becoming staid and appropriately shocking without losing the flow of the story.
Wild Girl promises to be a very engrossing series. The first issue keeps you interested throughout. The artwork is very easy on the eyes and enhances the storycraft of Lea Moore and John Reppion.
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