This is such a gorgeous and energetic comic that it’s hard for me to not give it this site’s highest rating. But I just can’t bring myself to give Supermarket Cover Image: http://www.comicsbulletin.com/main/sites/default/files/reviews/images/5bullets.jpg” >.
It’s a shame, because this is, first of all, a comic book that looks absolutely spectacular. It takes place in a future megalopolis called the Supermarket, where the rich are very rich and the poor are just trying to make their way. Pella is on the run in this amazing city, which Kristian (no last name given) draws and colors in an amazingly attractive and dynamic way. I love the energy of his pages, and the way that he gives this city real life. It has its share of futuristic aspects, but the Supermarket that Kristian illustrates has the feel of a city that people live in, a city that has history, above all a city that is nearly a character itself. When Kristian draws the neighborhood where Pella is brought to hide out, the streets look just slightly unfamiliar, like visiting a strange neighborhood of a city you’ve seen before. The atmosphere gives the whole thing a very seductive feel, like a vacation to a great foreign town that you’ve just barely heard of.
It seems these days that if a city is a main character in a comic, the comic has to be written by Brian Wood. Wood is well known for his comics that are as much about setting as about character; witness his series Local and DMZ. The city of Supermarket obviously has as much to do with Wood as with Kristian; you can see and feel the city’s influence even in the dialogue his characters speak. Pella, a rich girl from the suburbs, is as banal and shallow as her bucolic tree-lined security-gated street. It doesn’t matter that she rebelled against her world; Pella was still shaped by the place she grew up.
In fact, it’s in Pella that I found myself most frustrated by this comic. For a comic that presents her as the main character, I found it hard to get involved in Pella’s story. Simply put, Pella is kind of a shallow bore. When she spends the first few pages blowing the last of her cash at an ultra-ritzy hotel, I just wanted to jump into the page and yell at her. When she makes a cell phone call that she knows will be traced just because she’s having “one of my frequent breakdowns,” it makes a reader wonder if Pella has a real death wish. Even though her parents were amazing people, it seems they passed none of their brains and street smarts down to their daughter. Because of all that, I found her less than interesting as a lead character. She continually makes mistakes, continually does the wrong thing, and for that she lost some of my sympathy.
Even so, however, I really enjoyed this comic. The other characters in the story were compelling, and the artwork and setting were spectacular. In fact, the worst three words in the comic were “to be concluded.” I want to spend more than one more issue in the city of Supermarket, even though I really don’t want to spend them with Pella.