I don’t think I’m ruining anything by telling you that the invasion of little Pennystown ends this issue with as many questions left unanswered as the issue closes. It’s a satisfying and suitable conclusion for a series that brought readers a lot of intense action and shocking scenes, as well as some amazing character moments.
The issue begins with a conversation with Ethan and his dead girlfriend who became a template for the invading girl. It’s an poignant, metaphysical conversation that shows that despite the incredible horrors they’ve faced, the people of Pennystown can still dream of a better life, hope that one can change who they really are. It’s a beautiful prologue for the story, setting the scene in an emotional way for the events that will follow. The ending of the issue will have resonance to this scene, giving the book and series a nice sense of closure.
Quick on the heels of the quiet moment, as it always is in this comic, is a moment of high drama as the humans make their last stand against the clones. If anything, this battle is even more intense and frightening than the battles that came earlier in the series. After all this time, after all these deaths, it feels like a last stand. Death really does pervade the fight. The people want the clones gone, and the clones want the people gone. There’s a tremendous intensity in everybody’s faces as the battle proceeds.
And then, just as the fight is reaching its apex, things start to change. The sperm creature at the center of the invasion takes action. It seems to be in motion. It kills some men in horrifying ways. And then, and then… things just stop. The sperm creature suddenly flies off into space. The bubble over Pennystown is gone. And the town’s isolation ends in an instant as TVs come back on, and the media’s attention to the event is obvious. As quickly and inexplicably as it came, the alien sperm creature is gone. There’s no reason given to the townspeople either for the invasion or the leaving. Instead the hell is over, people reunite, and the townspeople try to pretend that the events of the invasion never happened. Finally, the epilogue gives an oblique explanation and reason for the invasion, an explanation maddeningly and realistically just slightly out of a reader’s grasp.
It seems to me that Girls was about nothing as much as the way that people deal with crises. Some fight, others cry, others give in to their worst impulses. Without anyone’s advice, without newspeople or politicians or police telling people how to act, what kinds of things do people do? I suppose your reaction to the underlying commentary of this comic depends on your view of the world. Do you see despair in the selfish actions of the townspeople, a funhouse mirror of the horrors of Abu Gahrib? Or do you see heroism in the fact that so many people stood up to what seemed like a relentless and overwhelming horror?
It’s the fact that the Luna Brothers deliberately don’t answer those or many other questions that makes this book really great. I finished this issue with a ton of questions in my head. There are so many questions left unanswered. But I think that’s kind of the point, and part of why this was such a terrific series. The Luna Brothers present the events clearly without telling readers either why things happen or what we should think about them. It would have been a cliché and a letdown to explain everything. That sort of ending wouldn’t have fit the series. With Girls #24, the Lunas present something that will continue to fascinate for some time.